New issues from the driftwood range

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The excellent pizzeria in Lawrenceville offers a regular pastry program.

PHOTOS BY MATT DAYAK

Driftwood Oven is expanding its portfolio. Starting this weekend, the acclaimed pizzeria will be offering a selection of baked goods, including croissants, cinnamon rolls, cookies, strudel and bread. This is a natural step forward for owner Neil Blazin, who began the monthly subscription-based bread release in 2015 years before opening the Driftwood, Lawrenceville location. In December, he occasionally featured pastries like cinnamon rolls and cookies in the restaurant. In February, Blazin was named a James Beard Foundation Semi-Finalist for Best Pastry Chef. (The Pastry Chef category recognizes bakers of all kinds, including pizza makers, in a restaurant, while the Best Baker category recognizes those who run a bakery.)

Blazin said he planned months ago to offer more baked goods – even looking for space for a standalone bakery – but withdrew the idea after COVID-19 changed the way of things. In the past few months, when the restaurant was closed to customers and the popular pizza business found its rhythm, the kitchen team began to use the dining room as a prep room. Now says Blazin. “We lean pretty hard into the bakery.”

Baker Alaina Phillips leads the operation. Just like the pizza dough, all baked goods are leavened with a natural starter. “That’s the way the driftwood stove goes,” says Blazin.

Driftwood bread
Initially, the bakery will be operated on Saturdays with online orders and limited pick-up times. Once they’re settled into a flow, customers can expect extended opening hours and more menu options. For example, bagels will soon be offered, with cakes and Christmas bread on the horizon.

Blazin says he misses having the restaurant full of people but has no immediate plans to reintroduce the local food. He prioritizes the safety of his employees by restricting interaction with the public. Instead, he’s remodeling Driftwood’s living room to better accommodate the expanded kitchen area. Once this is completed early next year, it will be open during the day (Driftwood is currently open for takeaway Wednesday through Sunday evenings), with both pizza and baked goods available for pickup.

3615 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412 / 251-0253, driftwoodoven.com

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