Inside ITRI….. Boasting a Brick Oven
by Cate Murway
“Celebrating the rich Italian American culture of Bristol with a touch of 3rd generation irreverence, Itri offers unique and craft pizza, food, and drink.”
Italian for “from the oven”. This is how pizza should be cooked! There is a strong Italian tradition of cooking with wood fired ovens, serving local craft beers and an extensive wine list that can form a focal point for the community.
Itri is pronounced “E-Tree”, perfect for this signature, cutting edge EATERY!
It’s always going to be better, as history has proven over thousands of years, if it is cooked in a well-built wood fired pizza oven. So, the results will be transformative: an amazing crust with a distinctive crunch, flavor and aroma.
Eat in Itri!
Pizza is the irrefutable symbol of Italy that has spread across the world but has never lost its roots.
Itri, derived from the Latin word ‘iter’, meaning "route" or "way", is a small city and commune in the central Italian region of Latium and the Province of Latina, an agricultural centre divided in two parts by a small river, the Pontone.
The Itrani speak a particular variant of the Neapolitan dialect, the Itrano.
It seems the Pezza family may be related to several of the most prominent families in Itri.
The Harriman resident entrepreneurs, the proprietors of Itri Wood Fired, are two social studies teachers with two young children, Mason Thomas and Amelia Judith, who are ready to make some history of their own.
Gregory Thomas Pezza, BHS ’96, also an East ward Borough councilman, has taught social studies at Lower Moreland for the last 15 years and his wife Dana Nicole teaches at School Lane Charter.
“Dana is very passionate about food,” Greg shared.
“She is a very good cook.” He said THAT twice, by the way!
“We are foodies!”
Their story begins with a profound respect for the time honored methods and traditional ingredients that can make food truly great, especially pizza. “Dana always had a vision in mind to open something like this. We are excited about what is going on in town and we invested in the building.”
310 Mill Street was previously the location of the Mark Carter Photography & Digital Design Studio.
“We ripped up rugs, tore down wood paneling and uncovered plaster and brick walls”.
Greg’s father-in-law, Gary Young of GRG Construction is the professional contractor.
Greg’s friend, restaurateur Justin shared his expertise. The interior décor they chose themselves, along with expert guidance from Mycle James Gorman, CEO of Design Works, LLC on 311 Mill Street.
“Dana and I want to remain in our careers. We are the visionaries and Itri is a product of our passion.”
What about the Itri logo with the monk?
Greg’s grandfather, the late Italian born Ernesto Vincent Pezza, Sr., was from Itri.
Fra Diavolo [literally Brother Devil; 1771–1806], was the popular name given to Michele Pezza, apparently a handful to begin with, when he participated in youth festivals dressed as a monk. He was a famous Neapolitan guerrilla leader who resisted the French occupation of Naples, proving an ‘inspirational practitioner of popular insurrection’.
“We thought this was a cool connection.”
Local artist, Jean-Marc Dubus copied and painted their Itri logo on the brick wall behind the bar, as well as designed their storefront sign.
Grey Itri shirts are available, created by ‘Great ID’s by Anne’ on 257 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, PA.
Just what exactly is so incredible about brick oven pizza?
Unmatched, better crust and crispier toppings! With such high temperatures, the radiant heat from the fire along with the heat bouncing off the inside walls of the oven, crisps the outside of the pizza very quickly and the intense heat seals and cooks the toppings more evenly. The wood fired oven enhances the performance of fire and the magic of the pizza, imparting a unique, smoky flavor that is impossible to replicate with a traditional oven.
This simple Italian creation has become an international sensation, taking custom-created pizza to the next level!
Their itri bar/restaurant with a wood burning oven and a full liquor license boasts a very cool ambiance.
“We will have takeout but it’s a place where you can sit, eat and have fun. We did a ton of homework. The oven purchase has been a significant project.” Itri’s Pavesi wood fired brick oven was hand-crafted by master oven builder Aldo Pavesi in Modena, Italy and is among the most respected and trusted pizza ovens worldwide. Their oven is the focal point.
“No slices; but the size of the pizza, a 12”round, is designed to be eaten by one person.”
Greg and Dana are creating their own take on this popular dish, each bringing something new and interesting [literally] to the table and are currently working on an exceptionally appealing menu.
Besides innovative cheesy pies, they will serve up other fare. “We’ll have what we’re calling “small plates” with pasta, meatballs, brussel sprout dishes, and classic bar food, including “French fries with a twist”. The ingredients will feature locally grown produce.
The focus is on local craft beers and an extensive wine list carefully selected to be paired with their food. “We will absolutely have Dad’s Hat Rye. We focus on local.”
The dough mixer in the back will get a daily workout providing the most delicious crusts, the main target with an ability to entirely change the dynamic of a pizza, along with their house-made tomato sauce.
You are invited to taste and tell!
They’re FIRING up! Watch for Itri’s Grand Opening in about two weeks.
Pre-opening gift card sales with a generous 20% discount are available until Itri is opened.
So hurry…. they NEVER expire!
Gift card purchases can be made at Spice & Co. 131 Mill Street, Bristol, PA 19007 215.919.7723
Itri is a family restaurant. Bring the kids!
Yes, there will be a selection of desserts.
“We’re thinking something funky, cool for background music.”
Wi-Fi is available.
This rustic, industrial, “urban-chic” neighborhood joint promises to take personal pride in their more artisan created pizza. Delicious, wholesome, fresh food is their passion and Greg and Dana want to share that with you!
A reservation for groups is encouraged.
ITRI Wood Fired Pizza
310 Mill Street
Bristol Borough, PA 19007
Hours: Dinner only for first month
Daily 4:00PM- until you want to stop eating!
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org