Jay Langfelder: Big Bon lands a big name in the pizza world | Eat it and love it | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music
About two years ago I was standing in the queue at Publix, earphones fully committed probably to Shalimar or Van Halen. The two ladies behind me were clearly having a secret conversation and were pointing fingers at me. Ten seconds later, the question comes. “Are you the food guy?” A bud now deleted: “I’m sorry? “She says you’re the food guy?” Are you the food guy?
I hate to stereotype, but the accent was what it was. The attitude too. If you know it, you know it. Straight out of Bay Ridge. Maybe Jersey.
“Where can I buy pizza around here?” ” “Well.” I said “Because I’m from New Jersey and am always looking for a good jersey style pizza.”
I mention a few of the usual suspects that I know Savannah likes and the response I got was âPfffffft. This is not a jersey pizza.
âWell, have you tried New Jersey? Is about all I could come back with.
It is sometimes difficult to toboggan here with the pizza crowd. Darling.
All that to say that when it comes to pizza, the options are good. I didn’t hide the fact that I think Kyle Jacovino’s Pizzeria Vittoria is the best in Savannah. For my money, Squirrel’s Pizza has improved over time. Grafitto at Plant Riverside is one of the few dishes I enjoy at this resort. Jon Lyle’s Riverboat Pizza and Big Bon Pizza are worth mentioning here.
Now there’s a new one coming on that will rival them all. The guy behind them is Jay Langfelder. The pride of Buffalo, New York.
âI had been visiting Savannah since around 2015.â he says. âI thought I was doing something here ever since. “
That didn’t happen sooner, frankly, because Jay was busy building one of America’s best pizza places in Buffalo. That is, according to people who measure this stuff.
“We were doing a food truck a bit like Big Bon Pizza.” He says. âWe had a good local clientele. We have had great local reviews. But our first big thing was The Daily Meal. They make a list called 101 Best Pizzas in America. We did this in our first year.
Boom, their game has changed.
Jay went three for three on this list in his first 3 attempts. Just to say that things were going well. Now three years old and nearing the end of his brick-and-mortar pizzeria’s lease, he has decided to sell to his first employee and move out. He landed here in Savannah in January.
âI’ve always liked it here. Once we got there we started to visit every year. He says.
It didn’t take long for him to meet Big Bon’s Kay Heritage. She suggested they sit down for lunch one day and immediately suggested a collaboration.
“She pretty much suggested it the first time we sat down to chat.” Jay said. The idea made perfect sense. Big Bon Bodega operates mornings and noon, but is otherwise closed. Once Big Bon’s bagels are ready for the day, there’s an empty oven sitting there. Jay’s experience making pizza. Perfect for the evening crowd.
It’s a match made on Bull Street. At Big Bon Bodega. But it’s not Big Bon Pizza.
“No it’s not. It’s different.” Jay said. âWe use a lot of the same ingredients. We have similar views on what it is. For example, the bagel oven they have in the store is different from the dome oven they have on the mobile operation. So we couldn’t produce the same pizza there if we wanted to.
âIt’s going to be designed to take out and go in a box. ” he says. “With Big Bon, people pretty much eat it there.”
If this is the first time you’ve heard the word “engineering” associated with pizza, join the crowd. Jay filled my notebook with discussions about hydration, fermentation and cooking times. This is information that, frankly, I found fascinating, but it is of no use here.
At the beginning of August, I was invited, along with a group of other Friends of Big Bon, to a pop-up pizza at the Bodega. There were a lot of pizzas that night, all created by Jay Langfelder. There was foccacia, cold cuts and pizza in a few different styles.
It was absolutely exceptional. Savannah will have a blast here.
âFor starters, we’re looking at a 16-inch New York-style pizza. Grandma style pizza slices. We are planning a vegan option and plenty of vegetarian options from the get-go. “
In the first two weeks, he says they should be ready to roll out gluten-free pies as well.
It’s fair to say that making a handful of pies for some friends is different than making hundreds a day. Consistency in this art form is the name of the game here. Jay’s track record tells us that he understood this. I guess it won’t be long before Jay’s pies are the talk of the town. Someone told this lady from Publix.
The goods will be deployed from October 6. From Wednesday to Saturday for now, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Delivery or delivery via Savtakeout.com. In between, it’s business as usual at Big Bon Bodega. So please don’t show up at lunchtime looking for pizza. It’s a party fault.
âThey will do the same things they always do for breakfast and lunch. Then they will close and we will reopen at 4:30 p.m. “
Big Bon Bodega pizza is what we can call it. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.