My first taste of pizza from The Pressroom Restaurant made my insides, and the core of my soul, so very happy. The delicious aroma of herbs and spice hit me first, and as the flavors of local fennel sausage and the texture of fresh rosemary sprigs blended with each bite, I declared the experience “This Month’s Best Meal.”
I have to be honest. As a child, I was never a huge fan of pizza. In fact, I despised the pizza shop down the street from our house, whose food tasted like canned sauce and previously frozen, low-quality cheese was slapped onto a circle of chewy, undercooked dough.
However, in my adulthood the “pizza experience” has drastically changed. All of our wildest pizza dreams have now become reality. Do you like freshly made pesto, Old Bay seasoning, juicy lump crab, shaved prosciutto, and fromage blanc (a delicious creamy cheese)? Yeah. Me too! The Pressroom Restaurant has created a pizza called The Chesapeake Pig which includes all of these incredible ingredients all on one pizza. Yes… I know. I’m not kidding.
So what makes The Pressroom pizzas so incredible? FLL sat down with Chef Matt Titter on a Tuesday afternoon to talk (and eat) pizza.
“Our pizzas get just as much respect as the rest of our menu items,” Matt explained. “The source of the ingredient is the drive […] and as a chef, it is my job to make bellies happy.”
Sourcing the ingredients locally is very important to Matt. All of the pizzas start and finish with olive oil from Seasons Oil and Vinegar Taproom, which just so happens to be a few doors down from the restaurant. You can’t get any more local than that! Matt also uses Rooster Street Provisions products, such as the fennel sausage on The Marcus Aurelius, which is handmade with no fillers and in small batches. The ricotta he uses on several of the pizzas is made of milk from Maplehofe Dairy and mineral-rich nigari (which is the byproduct of sea salt after it is removed from seawater) from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works in West Virginia. The complexity of the process gives the ricotta a sincere depth in the flavor.
Creating our pizzas alongside Matt was Julie Armstrong, who Chef Matt described as “18 years old and awesome.” She will be celebrating her one year “work-aversary” at The Pressroom in December, and has been refining her pizza craft each day she works. Julie started working at the restaurant through a CTC co-op program taught by Matt’s wife. Through this program, Julie came in to make pizza once or twice a week instead of going to regularly scheduled classes. Her favorite pizza to make, and eat, is Fowl Play (which includes fromage blanc, house-made duck confit, butternut squash, fontina cheese, and fig balsamic).
“I love the colors of the ingredients on the pizza. It’s beautiful and tastes great!” Julie said this with a laugh and a smile while concentrating on crafting the perfect pizza for us to enjoy. She placed the pie in the stone hearth oven, which is original to the building.
Perhaps my favorite part of this afternoon adventure was learning where the names of the pizzas come from; each pie comes with a story. For example, The Marcus Aurelius is named after the last of the Five Good Emperors. Aurelius was known for being a great leader and loved by his people, and the pizza named after him follows that philosophy with flavors that are “in charge, but personal and subtle.” This is a pizza that Chef Titter is very proud of. He describes the combination of ingredients as “meant to be.”
On the other hand, the decision for naming the Pepperhomie pizza came easily for Matt. “People say ‘pepperoni pizza’ all the time. ‘Pepperhomie’ is so much more fun to say!” Matt’s creative personality and fun, friendly nature come through every dish he creates. Anyone can tell just by talking to him that food, and making people happy with it, is his true passion in life.
“See, you’re standing here right in front of me eating my food. It’s like you’re actually eating a little bit of my soul,” said Matt. And oh, how we loved it.
Please visit The Pressroom Restaurant at 26-28 West King Street; Lancaster, PA; 17602.
You can also go on their website, PressroomRestaurant.com, to make reservations.