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Pizza, Pizza, PIZZA!

Hot Dog Pizzas, Woodburning Ovens and Homemade Mozarella and Dough.
Chef’s Note: Bacon by definition in this country only needs to be cured. People then do smoke it after curing, as do we.

We were very honored to learn earlier this month that Eater blog (Matt Rogers) gave a shout out to Lockeland Table on behalf of our pizza. It was cool to be acknowledged in this area as we aren’t even truly a pizzeria. ​Of the locations that received honorable mention Lockeland Table and City House were the only two on the list that are full-menu establishments. Basically meaning, that we don’t specialize in Pizza alone.

pizza_ovenPeople may not know that I originally had envisioned opening a pizza parlor rather than a restaurant. It was part of the initial conversations I had with our third partner, Floyd. That background is probably why the woodburning oven and pizza bar have such a prominent place in LT. If you’ve ever been to Lockeland Table, you know that our own woodburning oven is in the heart of the restaurant due to Inman’s fine kitchen design. Which then led us to also put the pizzas in the center of the menu which all fell into place naturally.

pizza_doughWhat guests may not know, is that we not only make our own dough but also make our own house-pulled smoked mozzarella in house each day. We make ours fresh. The dough is a 3-day process, however. We make it, allow it to proof, portion it, and then allow it to proof again. We don’t actually use it until the third day. It’s a daily routine. The dough, the cheese—even the sausage and the bacon (which is a 10-day process in itself). We pride ourselves in being artisanal (made by hand), if you will. When you come in you’ll hear about the daily pizza special, too.

When it comes to favorites, the Margherita is one of the most popular. I believe, as do many chefs, that the king of all pizzas is the Margherita however, named after a queen. It defines pizza. Everything derives from it. Dough, tomato, cheese, olive oil, basil and salt. The simplicity of this pizza is what makes it beautiful. I am in love with the Margherita. It makes me the happiest. And if I could only eat one pizza in my life, it would be the Margherita. There’s a place for others, but the Margherita is the one that puts the biggest smile on my face. The level of happiness that it brings my belly, mouth and brain…it doesn’t get much better than this. I think I’ve made my point. It’s a classic not to be altered.

pig_pizzaAfter doing a lot of pizza research around town, I would one day like to see The Pig on a list of best individual pizzas around Nashville. It’s just a wonderful pizza and has been on our menu since before we opened (as has been the Margherita). The name alone is fun. I was the one who called it The Pig. Pork has always been the king of the southern table. As a Nashville place, we realized we needed to accent the way we used the pig. The four pork components are: ham and pepperoni (Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork) and our house made bacon and Italian sausage. We then add Smoked Mozzarella and pepperoncini peppers.

When this pizza cooks in the oven, the fats melt and that’s where you get the amazing flavors. That is one of the beautiful things about The Pig. I guess you can tell, I just love pizza production—period.

I love making pizza. And for those who have had a chance to read our book, you’ll find the full story in there. My love for pizza is a love affair that started as a young child through consumption, but then as I got older through work as well.

I worked in a pizza parlor during my college days. I put myself through school mostly by working at Tony’s Pizza Den. I would go to class during the day and spend the evenings at the pizza shop.

My first experience with a woodburning oven was at the Greenbrier Hotel and Resort. I worked at their Golf Course, which included a restaurant. I enjoyed it so much. I knew I wanted one someday. I truly believe that the best pizza comes from high-temperature, wood burning ovens.

Did you ever notice that kids tend to eat pizza slices (once the cheese has cooled) upside down? My son, Cole, definitely does. He also loves making pizzas with me. Usually in the morning he requests that I bring home a cheese pizza and some meatballs.

When I was 10 years old my mom gave me a cookbook by a chef called Mr. Food. It was written for young kids. I remember one of the first recipes I made was a hot dog pizza. They had you make the dough, the sauce and use sliced hot dogs as a substitute for pepperoni. Then you baked it. That experience obviously stuck with me. It was a big deal. I’ve come a long way from that first scratch pizza. And, at Lockeland, we’re committed to quality and to serving the best pizza that can be found.

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  1. Avatar Chef Cathy A. Lewis says:

    Great blog, Hal! We share a similar experience and love affair with pizza.
    As a kid, I fell in love with Bingo’s pizza. Bingo’s was where we would go as a family
    after Rochester Amerk Hockey game. The sauce, the dough , crust, cheese and thick cut pepperoni that would curl and get a little char around the edges, was pure magic to my tastebuds.
    While going to school at The CIA, I worked at a pizza place called Buon Appetito
    nights and weekends. The owner, Pete Garbaini was from Trentino Italy, and like
    you, he made his own dough and fresh mozzarella.
    Definitely agree with Matt Rogers-your pizza is THE BEST in Nashville, I crave it.
    In fact, I need a pizza fix now and only yours will do!

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