FEASTING: SRO, New York’s First & Only Pizza Speakeasy

feasting sro new yorks first pizza speakeasy 2
Feasting is a column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.

You have no doubt heard of and probably been to a few speakeasy cocktail bars in your day. But a pizza speakeasy? The prospect hadn’t even crossed our minds until we heard about New York’s first and only for Neapolitan-style pies, SRO. Opened last month by world-champion pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani, the 24-seat restaurant is hidden behind a secret door inside Espoleta Tapas & Wine Bar in NYC’s Bowery neighborhood. The menu at SRO (which stands for Single Room Occupancy) changes daily, save for a few essential pies that are always on the roster, with a $38 tasting menu format that includes an appetizer, pizza, dessert and wine or beer for each person. While we tucked into a few delicious pies, we chatted with Giulio about how the idea for a pizza speakeasy came about, how he experiments with ingredients and what’s next for the restaurant.

SRO

SRO is New York’s only pizza speakeasy. What was the inspiration behind the space? Why did you decide to make it a speakeasy rather than a traditional restaurant?
I was always attracted to the prohibition period. And when I first arrived in NYC, the place to go was Employees Only, a cocktail bar that sits behind a psychic reader. I made friends with the owner Dushan Zaric, and it became my favorite place. When I started to restructure my business after the separation from Forcella, this was the first thing that came to mind: a secret pizza place for special pizza lovers where it was possible for me to express my creativity and actually talk with every single customer. It’s a hidden gem in the world of pizza where turnover and money are not an obsession.


You used to helm Forcella, famous for the fried pizza crust you created. Lucky for us, that famous pie, the Montanara, is on the menu at SRO. Did you just flash fry pizza dough one day or is it something you’ve eaten your whole life?
Fried pizza was served in my home in Italy for decades, and my grandma was a master at making it. Adding the oven finishing to this technique just removes a lot of grease and gives the opportunity to add and melt the mozzarella, resulting in an extremely good final touch to something that is already delicious.

SRO-1

Your pizzas run the gamut from traditional Margherita to experimental pies like guanciale, grape and hazelnut. With a menu that changes daily, how do you find inspiration for new pies? Do you reinvent traditional recipes, look to seasonal ingredients, etc?
This is actually the fun part of SRO. It is all about experimenting with toppings and getting immediate feedback from customers. I go to the farmers’ market as often as possible and speak with suppliers to see what’s good and available. The recipes I make are sometimes totally experimental and sometimes simple revisions of old classics.


Pizza is pretty much the perfect food for any meal. Have you ever thought about opening a spot for breakfast pizza? What would you put on your pie first thing in the morning?
Soon SRO will start serving brunch. I love to put eggs and guanciale on pizza to reproduce the flavors of one Italian classic, The Carbonara. That would be my to go breakfast pizza!

To make a reservation, email sropizza@gmail.com or visit sropizza.com.

Photo Credit: Gabi Porter

Living

Peek Inside NoDa House, a Reimagining of Traditional Mill Houses with a Modern Twist

NoDa House has all of the mid-century modern goodness we love about Eichlers but with a modern twist.
Food & Drink

7 Best Tequila Bars in Mexico City

Jaime Salas, the national brand ambassador for Milagro, takes us on a tequila-drinking journey via the best bars in CDMX.
Auto

Aston Martin Wants Its Flying Car Concept to Be Your New Commuter

"Air travel will be a crucial part in the future of transportation ... We need to look at alternative solutions to reduce congestion, cut pollution, and improve mobility.”
Travel

The Ultimate Guide to a Road Trip Across Newfoundland

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.
Food & Drink

Now that the Weather is Warm, 5 Chefs Share their Favorite Grilling Tips & Recipes

We asked chefs from all over the country for their best grilling recipes and tricks to get a perfect char and delicious meal every time.
Food & Drink

Savor an Eclectic Japanese Feast at the New Dinnertable

When Ricky Arias took over the kitchen at NYC's dinnertable, he infused the menu with wildly addictive Japanese dishes. Here, we talk to the chef about his inspiration.
Feasting

It’s Salmon Season: Chef Tres Jackson’s Fennel and Salt Cured Salmon Recipe

Get out your fishing tackle -- or at least your cooking gear -- because it's salmon season.
Feasting

Do You Have the Guts to Eat These Burgers on National Burger Day?

The most delicious holiday of them all is June 28th.
Food & Drink

Apparently Sous Vide Cooking is Awesome and Surprisingly Easy

Master the vacuum and cook any meat to precisely the desired temperature and not a single degree more!
Feasting

For the First Time in a Century, You Can Have Real Fettuccine Alfredo

You'll never go back to what you thought was Fettuccine Alfredo.
Food & Drink

“The World is Your Burger” Celebrates an American Icon

"The World is Your Burger" is the ultimate foodie encyclopedia.
Food & Drink

“Reel Masters” Follows Top Chefs on their Ultimate Fishing Trips

May this book inspire and bring you luck on your next big fishing excursion.