La Bella Beddia

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Pizzeria Beddia left something to be desired. It’s expensive, there’s a long wait, and the pizza isn’t even that good. The ambiance absolutely pandered to the cult of the #hipsterdouche, the wanna-be-Instagram-influencer, the Country Club-foodie who drove in from the suburbs and complains about the atrocious lack of parking in Fishtown. That being said, I can’t wait to go back.

I lived off the Morgan Avenue L in Bushwick, home to Roberta’s, which I maintain as the best gourmet pizzeria I’ve ever been to. The Cheesus Christ is my favorite, even though it’s not always on the menu. The Neapolitan-style pie is an ode to caccio e pepe, a nightmare of lactose, and contains the sweet chiaroscuro sting of cream and pepper. The pizzeria is home to a mélange of apathetic servers, a full bar, and is lit like the inside of a Christmas tree.

In stark contrast, Pizzeria Beddia is minimal, in décor and in menu. A tuning fork-shaped bar backed by a round mirror with a luminescent FriendsWithYou cloud dangling from the ceiling is the only real visual stimuli in the restaurant. The layout is airy and spacious, complete with blonde wood booths and gigantic windows. The menus are kitschy, modern, printed on butcher paper. The hosts and servers are friendly and tattooed. The food is—meh.

On my first visit, I tried the “Tomato Pie,” a $4 slice of crispy Sicilian smeared with tomato sauce. I also had two glasses of white wine, on tap. I couldn’t stop ogling the pizzas around me, but also couldn’t justify spending $22 on a pizza for one. Suffice to say, I exited with high hopes, stoked to try the famed classic pizza coated in Old Gold, a “savory Gouda-style” cheese with “a hint of sweetness” that Joe Beddia “first encountered at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market.

On my second visit, after a one hour wait wherein my friend Jessie and I sipped on Commonwealth Ciders (a clever business tactic—making us wait, serving us drinks) and discussed the patriarchy, the covertly disguised Lululemon on Frankford Avenue, and whether Pizzeria Beddia would be a “love to hate” or a “hate to love” kind of place. We had high hopes for the pizza, and I not so secretly gushed my adoration for the clean millennial-inspired sleekness of the space.

Suffice to say, the classic pizza was disappointingly average. I feigned nostalgia, noting to Jessie that it was “good-crappy,” and tasted like the kind of pizza you’d eat at a bowling alley. The crust was fine, the Old Gold was fine. I complained that the whole thing tasted too much like oregano. We drank glasses of the draft white wine and left full, but not completely satiated. I’d compare the Beddia pie to a kind of elevated take on the microwavable Mama Celeste.

And yet—I’d like to go back. I’d go to people watch and to drink Averna and to luxuriate in the atmosphere. Pizzeria Beddia is a return to the cult of cool, and although it panders to a part of me that I so often disparage, I’m nevertheless a fan.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of pizza photos, I was trying not to be too obvious!


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