New restaurants open with regularity, even during these pandemic years. New restaurants with a genuinely new approach, though? Not so much.
Press, which opens Thursday (Aug. 25) at 2509 South Jefferson Avenue in Fox Park, takes a genuinely new approach to pizza, at least in this restaurant critic’s experience. Press smashes it.
Press is a new venture from Logan Ely, the acclaimed chef behind the Lucky Accomplice and restaurant-turned-pop up Shift, with partners Brian Schuman and Corey Moszer. The renovated storefront occupies the same Fox Park block as the Lucky Accomplice.
Press’ smash pizza begins with “really nice” pizza dough, Ely said. This is rolled out, topped with ingredients, covered with more dough and smashed in a panini press. The result, as pictured on the restaurant’s social media, resembles a cross between a calzone and a classic sci-fi UFO, with garnishes.
People are also reading…
Ely announced Press in November, but the concept of smash pizza has evolved since then as he and Donn Hinkle, who will lead the restaurant’s kitchen, have developed the pizza recipes.
“We’re still kind of learning what we can put inside of them and on top,” Ely said.
Press features six smash pizzas. Ely is especially excited about the barbecue kimchi and duck pizza, which he describes as a play on a barbecue chicken pizza. This is stuffed with a barbecue sauce made from kimchi, confit duck leg and scamorza cheese and topped with more of the barbecue sauce, shredded cabbage, scallions and sesame seeds. The restaurant’s riff on Hawaiian pizza uses al pastor-style pork and Oaxacan cheese with lime and a cilantro aioli.
Other dishes include barigoule with Rancho Gordo beans, a brassica Caesar salad, marinated olives, house-cured lonza and — a potential Instagram and TikTok rival to the smash pizzas themselves — lobster thermidor served in a can.
The beverage program developed by Moszer features draft cocktails. This approach is not simply about the convenience of having drinks on tap, Ely said: “There’s, like, nitro cocktails and different carbonations with different cocktails and stuff like that, so I think it’s pretty fun.”
Press can accommodate 32 diners. All seating is walk-in. The restaurant is open 5-11 p.m. Thursday-Monday.
The second restaurant from the chef of the acclaimed Shift (formerly known as Savage) features his ambitious cooking in a more casual atmosphere.