Steve Shaka opened Pizzette in East Williamsburg with manager Luc Trahn as a culmination of a long time dream to open a pizza shop. Shaka owns Bushwick’s French bistro Mominette and Bushwick Bakery. The pizza heavy menu draws from the dough work of a bakery with the day-to-day of running a restaurant. Shaka’s got Sicicilan heritage and grew up with pizza, which means he takes the crust very seriously.
Pizzette, close to the Montrose L, soft opened in early June in the former Tricolore Pizza space. Partner Trahn noticed the space was closing and Shaka was able to buy out their lease, which dated back to 2012 (with 2012 prices) and renovations were easier because the space already had a pizza oven. Build-out took about four months but the opening was stalled while they waited seven months for a liquor license. The space is large, with an art-filled back room that’s available for events and parties. Since opening, customer feedback has been good and plates are coming back empty, which is Shaka’s truest test of quality.
The pizzas at Pizzette come in two sizes, six inch personal pizzettes and 10 inch pies for sharing. The personal pies are sliced in four pieces and surprisingly filling. They offer three options, margherita, quattro formaggi, and a spicy pizza. Shaka learned the power of “little personal things” at the bakery as he saw mini pies take off. They’re also a great way to sample multiple toppings in one visit.
The dough uses organic flour and a sourdough starter that came from Bushwick Bakery (it’s the same starter that’s used for their baguettes). The crust is a medium thickness, not as thick as a square pie, but better able to withstand toppings than a classic New York slice. The toppings list is extensive, with options like figs and goat cheese, and a Red Hot Chili Pizza with house pickled jalapeños, habaneros, thai chili, and a chipotle infused marinara sauce. Seafood is a big focus as well, with both clam pie and a fra diavolo pie, inspired by the pasta dish. Shaka’s favorites are the walnut pesto pie and the fra diavolo.
Oyster happy hour fans will love Pizzette, which has $1 Blue Point oysters and Little Neck clams all night long, sourced from Connecticut and served with a house mignonette. Shaka initially had a more clam-heavy seafood offering, but found customers preferred oysters (“we sell eight oysters for every one clam we sell,” he says).
Shaka calls Pizzette “a pizzeria and bar.” It’s true. Pizzette has a full liquor license and a cocktail menu with nods to the neighborhood. The menu includes the Montrose, with tequila, hibiscus and jalapeño and the B43, a grapefruit and campari drink that references the bus that passes by. There’s a small draft beer list and house wines. For zero proof options, they serve espresso and handmade sodas in flavors like sour cherry, blood orange, and ginger.
The back of the bar is wallpapered with Shaka’s personal collection of old Rolling Stone magazines, so you’ll enjoy your drink with Jay Z and Russell Brand, shellacked to look vintage. Their house spritz is nice and refreshing and the bartenders often dole out goodbye shots to friendly customers. As an opening special, guests get a free six inch pizzette with the purchase of a signature cocktail during happy hour. Other noteworthy dishes include the homemade gnocchi, which can be served with a brown butter sauce or as a base for mac and cheese.
On weekends, Pizzette offers brunch featuring pizzas, ricotta pancakes, and Italian inspired egg dishes like a caprese omelette. They also serve special brunch cocktails. Brunch dishes are between $10 and $15 with $8 cocktail options. The restaurant accepts cash or Visa cards with a fee.
Pizzette joins a growing set of dining options around the Montrose L stop including Win Son and Apollonia. Shaka likens it to the area where he opened Mominette in 2012, a neighborhood that needs more options, and has already seen some regulars visiting multiple times a week.
Monday- Thursday 5 p.m. -11 p.m
Friday 5 p.m. – Midnight
Saturday Noon – Midnight
Sunday Noon-10 p.m
Cover image courtesy of @izz.yyyy.