West Hartford — Lastly, two years after David Boyajian and Adam Greenberg signed the lease at 977 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford, the Sparrow Pizza Bar is open.
The spacious and funky pizzeria with a classy central bar opened on September 2, serving pizzas, salads, bruschetta, small bites and desserts for lunch and dinner, and cocktails for the late crowd evenings, seven days every week.
Extra is to return, too. Within the coming weeks, Greenberg plans to open BDK (Again Door Kitchen), a take-out ghost kitchen providing solely “subbies” sandwiches and salads. The door to BDK is behind Sparrow, with a number of free parking areas for individuals who come to choose up.
Sparrow and BDK function underneath totally different philosophies. BDK will enter a neighborhood the place it is arduous to discover a good salad sandwich.
“You’ll be able to’t pay lease on this neighborhood by simply promoting sandwiches and salads. But when it is an extra aspect factor, we are able to try this,” Boyajian mentioned.
Conversely, there isn’t any scarcity of pizzerias at West Hartford Heart: Zephyr’s, Savoy, Luna. “The very last thing West Hartford Heart wants is extra pizza. What are we pondering? Boyajian mentioned. “However the fantastic thing about pizza is that pizza is fantastically subjective.”
In order that they bounce within the pool anyway, providing a wide range of pizzas that the others do not. Their tavern-style pizza has an ultra-thin crust and is served in a pan, with toppings spilling over the aspect. The cheese melts across the edges into a skinny brown, crispy “crown”. When leftovers are reheated in a skillet, the cheese turns into even crispier.
“Somebody referred to as it ‘food plan pizza’ as a result of there’s much less dough. It is a vessel for good toppings and good substances,” Greenberg mentioned.
Sparrow’s atmosphere is complemented by the central bar, run by Michela Zurstadt. She formulates “recent, vibrant and juicy cocktails”. It additionally serves wines, native beers and, quickly, non-alcoholic cocktails with these similar recent fruit juices.
“We hope mother and father will come at 5:30 or 6 p.m. with their kids and have pizza and are available again at 9 a.m. for a drink on the bar,” Boyajian mentioned.
Boyajian and Greenberg have enjoyable with their pizza recipes and names. Many are influenced by the individuals and eating places they’ve encountered all through their lives.
“The Ruby,” with vodka sauce, recent mozzarella, and nut-free pesto, is called after the same Tie-Dye Pizza at Rubirosa Restaurant in New York Metropolis.
“The Colony”, made with Calabrian chili oil, pays homage to the coastal pizzeria well-known for its sizzling oil pizza. The Colony first launched tavern-style pizza to Connecticut.
“The Shemesh” is called after a financier Sparrow, whose favourite toppings are roasted purple peppers, prosciutto, broccolini and sesame seeds.
The “Shy-Roni”, a pepperoni pizza, is called after a “Saturday Night time Dwell” skit with Rihanna.
The funniest is the “Beat Bobby Flay” pizza, with shredded rooster and cherry peppers. It’s impressed by the dish that Greenberg made on the Meals Community present with which he certainly beat Bobby Flay.
For years this dish has been the most well-liked dish within the Barcelona group of eating places, the place it’s referred to as Hen Pimientos.
“I like fancy names, names that make individuals snort,” Greenberg mentioned. “I say ‘you prefer it in Barcelona, now it is on pizza’.”
Greenberg lets cooks at different eating places know that their concepts have impressed him, and he mentioned they have been supportive of him. “They message me and say ‘that is so superior,'” he mentioned.
The pizzas, all 10 inches, vary from $14 to $18. Different flavors are margherita, bechamel-roasted cauliflower, truffle fontina sauce, and “carnitas,” with pulled pork, jalapenos, pickled onion radishes, and cilantro and custard cream. Lime. A packet of Cholula is served with this, so as to add extra warmth as desired.
Boyajian’s restaurant profession started at age 14 on the now-closed Roberto’s in Monroe. At college, he determined to make cooking his career. “I instructed my mother I did not need to take the LSAT. There have been tears,” he mentioned.
In 2007 he made his debut within the Barcelona restaurant group. This profession took him to New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. He determined in 2019 to launch Sparrow. On the time, he deliberate a second Sparrow location, in Greenwich, however pandemic issues brought on him to drop this one.
Greenberg met Boyajian in Barcelona. Earlier than teaming up together with his former colleague, he moved to Washington DC to open a restaurant. This restaurant, the place he originated the idea of “subbies,” closed through the pandemic.
The ornament of the Sparrow is impressed by avenue artwork. One wall is roofed with a fresco paying homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. A ghostly face of Andy Warhol hovers above Basquiat. On one other wall are six tv screens exhibiting art work by Basquiat and Haring. On nights when there’s a huge sports activities recreation, these TVs will present the sport.
Additionally on the menu, bruschetta ($6 to $8); salads ($12 to $14, with a burrata salad “for the desk” at $23); small bites from $6 to $12 together with mozzarella sticks, Brussels sprouts, olives, arancini, shishitos, truffle fries and meatballs.
Greenberg mentioned that since Sparrow’s opening, the menu will evolve, with additions and deletions, and substances shall be changed seasonally.
“We’re making an attempt to work our method via this,” he mentioned. “We discover out what individuals like, what we love to do.”
Sparrow Pizza Bar is at 977 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford. Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday via Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The bar is open till 1 a.m. sparrowpizzabar.com.
Susan Dunne could be contacted at [email protected].