Front Row Food: Chef's tables give an insider view at area kitchens
Let's Do Lunch: 180 Restaurant & Bar
Chef Profile: Rick Korn, Chef-Owner, Rick’s Food & Spirits, Kingston, NH

When Pigs Fly Wood-Fired Pizzeria

Featured Restaurants by Sarah Grant / March, 2013

When Pigs Fly Wood-Fired Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine, is an astonishing place in both edifice and fare. The exterior has a subtle arts-and-crafts-inspired style, while the post-industrial interior features a cathedral ceiling supported by huge I-beams. The décor is composed largely of repurposed metal from previous mills and factories, with a bar made of concrete with gear and cog inlays. Ultra-sleek Douglas fir chairs line each table and the bar of the 170-seat restaurant.

Two great chefs have created an eatery that is clearly nothing like a typical pizza joint. Ron Siegel, president of When Pigs Fly Bakery, and Executive Chef Ben Hasty work in tandem to create a menu of notable pizzas and creative appetizers that spotlight deeply complex, gastronomically gratifying flavors.

Siegel is in charge of the pizza. The Neopolitan-inspired pies are reminiscent of focaccia, but very thin and pleasingly chewy, with innovative multilayered toppings. The Medjool Date Pizza features soppressata salami, fresh mozzarella, Mike’s Hot Honey, Pecorino Romano, and the sweet surprise of dates. The Bacon and Eggs is a white pizza, perfect for brunch. It’s made with Benton’s bacon, lonza, roasted bliss potatoes, and three cheeses, topped with poached eggs.

The rest of the menu is all Hasty, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who has cooked under the tutelage of such greats as Thomas Keller at the French Laundry in California and Tony Maws at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His fare will make your taste buds sing as he takes simple items and elevates them. The Burger, topped with Vermont cheddar, is served on a toasted challah bun (from When Pigs Fly Bakery, of course). Fried Fingerling Potatoes are twice-cooked tender fingerlings with a delightful dusting of kosher salt, served with three house-made sauces: ketchup, Dijon aioli, and sriracha mayo. The Organic Chicken Nuggets have the true natural flavor of small farm-raised chicken.

A more uncommon offering is the Grilled Octopus, tender and tasty with fennel, ginger, pepper, and sesame. It’s served in a bowl with spicy sausage and winter squash, garnished with scallions, sesame seeds, and toasted pepitas.

Hasty makes all the pork products used in appetizers and on the pizza: chorizo, lonza, prosciutto, salami, pancetta, soppressata, and many more. All are made with Yorkshire cross pigs raised by his dad on a nearby farm.

Not to be missed is a taste or five of the 20 noteworthy domestic and international microbrewed draft beers available on tap. “With the exception of Allagash White, we rarely tap the same keg twice,” Siegel says, meaning that customers can always find new selections from the area’s varied small breweries. When Pigs Fly Pizzeria offers flights of beers in four-ounce glasses, so customers may taste several drafts at one sitting.

Then there is dessert. The Cookie Sandwich Trio sports a pair each of three different cookies sandwiching three flavors of gelato ladled with house-made chocolate sauce at the table. A lighter offering is the subtly sweet, creamy Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta served with seasonal fruit and garnished with lemon-mint whipped cream and fresh mint leaves. “I grew up hunting, fishing, farming and cooking just 20 miles from here,” says Hasty. “That upbringing forged my palate for fresh local flavors, as well as my love for the process and hard work that brings them to the table.”

When Pigs Fly Wood-Fired Pizzeria
460 Route 1 Kittery, Maine
207-438-7036

Google map: