Local Hero Profile: Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria
By Lucy Dean Stockton, CISA Intern
Published in CISA’s August 2014 e-newsletter —sign up here!
Magpie Woodfired Pizzeria began out of a simple love for pizza. The restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Greenfield, is a classic woodfired pizzeria and trattoria centered around the wood oven. Co-owner Evelyn Wulfkuhle says that the Woodfire oven is “an underrepresented style” and that it allows them to cook in a really unique way. Unlike most restaurants, they only have one burner in their kitchen as all other cooking is done in the oven as well. The oven is at the heart of Magpie’s success; the other factor is an emphasis on quality, locally grown ingredients.
If anyone knows how to showcase local produce, Magpie does. All of their salad greens come from Old Friends Farm in Amherst. Much of their other produce comes directly from The Kitchen Garden farm in Sunderland. Other ingredients are delivered by Squash, Inc., recipient of a 2014 Local Hero Award. Their emphasis on local, quality ingredients goes beyond food, to beverages as well. They serve Harmony Springs Soda and many of their beers are produced locally. Their cocktails, too, feature local ingredients, and even the wood for the oven comes from Foxbard Farm in Shelburne.
While they offer classic pasta and seafood dishes, the pizza is their shining star. The woodfire technique makes 11’ traditional pies in mouthwatering combinations like ‘Housemade Sausage and Broccoli Rabe’, ‘Artichoke and Pesto’, and ‘Catalan Shrimp’. And for those who would rather build their own pie, the restaurant is more than accommodating as they list all of the potential toppings such as fennel, ricotta, prosciutto, broccoli rabe, fresh tomato and artisanal mozzarella. With such simple preparations, it’s essential to have quality ingredients, and Evelyn says that it makes good “food sense” to source locally.
This sentiment is echoed by the other co-owners, siblings Maggie and Jim Zaccara, who – along with Evelyn – also own Hope & Olive just around the corner. The trio really knows where their values lie when making delicious food. Hope & Olive received a Local Hero Award in 2013 for their dedication to buying locally grown products. Clearly, the same principles are visible in the management of Magpie. To them, they say it just makes sense to source locally. Evelyn stated that they have “good, solid farm connections with their suppliers and customers.” She reasoned that it makes environmental sense to source food from nearby vibrant farms. She also sees their decision to buy locally as an opportunity to “connect with [their] farmers” and notes that sourcing local products is just a result of the “community [they’re] in,” one made of “neighbors, friends and customers.”
Some of their incentive to source locally is driven by customer demand as more and more patrons are thinking about eating locally. Magpie is both reacting to demand and encouraging people in that direction. Future plans include a new menu (currently in development) and diversifying what they make. They already bake all of the bread and focaccia for Hope & Olive, and they have just introduced bagels which they sell only at the Saturday Market in Greenfield. They’ll be taking part in another annual Greenfield Free Harvest Supper this August, which showcases local ingredients cooked by Greenfield restaurants for the whole meal. Their role in the event is probably one of the most appreciated, as they serve slices to hungry people waiting in line to be served their meal.
Luckily, you won’t have to wait for the Free Harvest Supper to indulge in some traditional woodfired pizza. Their Greenfield location is in a gorgeous old building with huge windows overlooking the street, brick walls, and a warm, comfortable atmosphere. The space is divided into the bar and the dining area and is filled with eclectic decorations. My advice: try to sit with a view of the oven, you may have to fight your table mates for the best seat, but it’s worth it. The oven is huge and busy with a crackling fire and a tremendous amount of energy as the chefs buzz around it like bees. If you look carefully, you may even see your pizza going in and coming out just a few minutes later. And with a formula as simple as local ingredients + oven, they get it right every time.
Magpie is open Monday, Wednesday Thursday and Sunday from 4 to 9pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10pm. Visit their website at http://magpiepizza.com/ to see their menu. Call for take-out or reservations at 413-475-3570.