When the President of the United States comes calling, you answer. Even if that means arranging for a full-size, 1,800-kilogram Neapolitan pizza oven to be delivered to the tarmac of Washington’s Paine Field Airport so that you can personally cook for Barack Obama.
“He was touring the Boeing facilities and couldn’t make it to the restaurant,” recalls Joe Fugere, owner of Seattle’s Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria. “So he figured, ‘It’s a pizza place, can’t they deliver to Air Force One?’ But that’s 30 miles away and our pizza doesn’t travel well. It’s meant to be enjoyed hot and I really wanted to figure out a way to get it to him fresh.” So naturally, the determined entrepreneur had a traditional wood-fired oven transported to the airport where he and his team cooked authentic Neapolitan pies for a crowd of 60, complete with a special-edition version just for Mr. Obama. “It’s called the El Presidente,” says Fugere. “Olive oil and mozzarella. Locally made Isernio’s Italian sausage. Roasted peppers and Mama Lil’s peppers. And because he likes spicy food, Calabrian chilies.”
Since Tutta Bella’s inception in 2004, the company has been a part of a small group of restaurants to receive Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certification—in Canada there are currently only eight companies coast to coast with the designation. The pies are thin crust, fire-roasted, and use only the best and freshest ingredients. As the certification standards indicate, “the finished pizza, when eaten, should present the following characteristics: soft, well-cooked, fragrant, and enclosed in a high, soft edge of crust”.
Best do as President Obama did and finish with tiramisu as well. But enjoy it at Seattle’s buzzing Westlake location, next door to the Pan Pacific Seattle. Here, you’ll have the benefit of a beautiful patio and views of the Space Needle beyond.