We were told, at first, that we may not be able to install the wood burning oven at Mozzeria because we needed to obtain approval from tenants above the restaurant. Having the wood burning oven is not an issue but, in order to install it, the City requires proper venting. In our situation, we would need to install an exhaust pipe in the back of the building.
As there are 2 exhaust pipes already in the back, we were worried that the tenants may object to adding a third exhaust pipe which may block their view. We don’t blame them and considered an alternate option – to install a gas fired oven. It was a bit disheartening as our vision always included the wood burning oven.
We met with the tenants and, to our relief, agreed that we would attach the third exhaust to the existing exhaust pipes. Janet Campbell, our architect came to our rescue with this solution to make it work for both parties. Yahoo! There will be a wood burning oven at Mozzeria!
Now we face another challenge.
San Francisco is known for its small spaces. After all, San Francisco is just 49 square miles. When friends from other states visit us, they noticed that most restaurants here are rather small. We told them yes, that is often the case in big cities.
Our restaurant entrance is a single door measuring 32" wide. How do we bring the pizza oven into the restaurant?
Which Pizza Oven?
We looked at several pizza ovens and met spoke with consultants and salespersons for each manufacturer. We weighed pros and cons for 3 different pizza ovens.
Mugniani is located in Watsonville, California. They carry a wood burning oven, Valoriani which is certified by Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN). The Valoriani oven can fit through standard doorways. Many restaurants in San Francisco and Bay Area have standard Mugniani ovens, but I haven't seen the Valoriani dome oven version in San Francisco.
Woodstone, a Washington based company, sells their ovens to well-known restaurants and grocery chains including California Pizza Kitchen and Whole Foods Stores. Their wood burning oven is also certified by VPN and can fit through standard doorways. They don't, however, have the dome oven.
Stefano Ferrara Napoli is a hand-built oven imported from Italy. The distributor is located in Concord, California. They request 10-week lead time to produce the Stefano Ferrara Napoli oven. I have seen 2 Stefano Ferrara Napoli ovens in San Francisco, and they are beautiful ovens. The oven, however, won't fit through the standard door which would cost us a fortune to either build from pieces at Mozzeria, or remove the outside façade. This would require approval from the Tenant in Common (TIC) board. The building Mozzeria is in is also recognized as a historic building by City of San Francisco which could present another issue.
Mmm... we definitely have a dilemma. We are seeking an impartial consultant specializing in wood burning oven who does not work for one of these oven companies to advise us. We cannot wait to build our pizza oven at Mozzeria soon.