Upon entering Millville Pizza Co. in Gig Habor, if the scent of housemade yeasty dough doesn’t grab diners, then the sight of the octagonal domed wood-fired pizza oven certainly will.
The oven is from Mugnaini, makers of high-end commercial pizza ovens. Although the oven reaches 800 degrees, it’s highly insulated, said Millville Pizza Co. owner John Ross.
“When you touch the walls, it’s maybe 75 or 80 degrees. We’re going to tile that with two-by-two bright, dark blue tile with white grout,” he said.
He’ll primarily fuel the oven with apple wood.
It’s designed to be a showpiece in the small 1,200-square-foot pizzeria with seating for 30. The restaurant will be micro-focused on high-quality thin-crust pizza, a few salads and appetizers. The restaurant will be open only for dinner service (at least to begin with) Tuesdays-Saturdays.
He’s hopeful for a Tuesday opening, but is certain an opening will happen next week.
His restaurant is named with a nod to the surrounding Millville neighborhood, which took its name from the neighborhood’s historic sawmill. The original building at the restaurant’s locations burned down in the early 1920s and was rebuilt and operated as the Red and White Store/Stanich Brothers Merchandise until the 1970s. In recent years, the space was occupied by a nail salon.
Next-door neighbors at Susanne’s Bakery are collaborators. Ross considers co-owners Mike and Susanne Tunney his mentors and creative consultants. He’ll operate the restaurant with his wife, Alyssa Ross. This is the first restaurant for the couple, although they own another small business.
Ross overhauled the interior, including ripping out the carpet that covered the original fir floor. He refinished that floor and added a seating bar made from reclaimed fir wood. Local beers and wine will be on tap.
Ross, who is the owner and the chef, described his pizza style as artisan, or Neapolitanish, with a “thinner style crust in the center with a very robust and lively and airy outside rim that’s maybe half an inch.” He said surface area is important to a quality pie, which is why he intends to extend the toppings to near the outer rim of the pizza. His pizza peeve (and mine) is running out of toppings with four bites left of crust. He’ll make his dough from double 00 flour.
He’ll make the house red pizza sauce with San Marzano tomatoes and is developing a garlic white sauce. His first pizza on a revolving specials menu likely will be one made with housemade pesto, but he won’t have pesto standard on the menu to start. He’ll feature cured meats, including prosciutto, spicy Italian sausage, Portuguese chorizo and soppressata. Cheese selections include mozzarella, grana padano, gruyere, ricotta and goat cheese.
He’ll start with a menu of seven pies. An herb-based pie will come with shredded mozzarella, olive oil, chili flakes and a trio of fresh herbs — thyme, oregano and rosemary. His mushroom pizza will be made with sauteed portabella and goat cheese. His spicy Italian sausage pie will come with red onion, ricotta and raw garlic. A prosciutto pie will be topped with fresh arugula after it’s baked.
Twelve-inch pizzas will be priced $12-$15 each. Two salads, antipasto and house-made rosemary crackers will complete the opening menu.
Where: 3409 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor; 253-514-8626; millvillepizzaco.com.
Hours: 4:30-9:30 Tuesdays-Saturdays.