Brian Gurley is hoping the people of eastern Long Island, long-accustomed to the convenience of gooey, piping hot to-go pizzas, will embrace a West Coast approach to takeout.
His venture, Two Brothers Take and Bake Pizza, is expected to open on East Main Street in Riverhead by the end of the month, he said. Unlike a traditional New York pizzeria, the eatery makes fresh, uncooked pies to be cooked at home or frozen for later.
“It’s pretty much everywhere but the northeast,” Gurley, a native of Richland, Washington who now lives in East Quogue, said of the concept. “Out west, almost every town has a couple of locations. Everyone we know out there goes at least weekly.”
Unlike the Vancouver-based pizza chain Papa Murphy‘s, the nation’s largest purveyor of take and bake pizza and the fifth-largest pizza company overall, the dough will be hand-tossed, thin and crispy in the style of traditional New York pizza. It is worth noting that Papa Murphy’s was also rated best pizza chain by Zagat in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Two Brothers’ pizzas can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours and can be frozen. They include a tray to cook the pizza and baking instructions (14 to 18 minutes at 425 degrees.)
“It’s very much like a regular pizza place,” he said. “But when you get home, it hasn’t been sitting in a box.”
Toppings will include pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, goat cheese, mushrooms, onions, pineapple, spinach and artichokes. Gurley plans to use local produce when available.
Prices range from $14 for a 14-inch pie with one topping to $19 for a specialty 16-inch pie, comparable to a traditional pizzeria.
Two Brothers, named after Gurley’s high school-aged sons Hunter and Jack, will also sell pasta dishes, salad, cookie dough and fully cooked — but not heated — chicken wings.
Gurley is confident that people will love the taste of the finished product. The challenge, he said, lies in getting New Yorkers to embrace the concept.
“It’s something different. When you do takeout pizza, it’s not alway warm by the time you get home,” said Andre Galarza, a Riverhead native now living in Bellport who was eating dinner at Parto’s Restaurant in downtown Riverhead on Sunday. “I’ll give it a whirl. It depends on how it bakes. That would determine it.”
Other might need some more convincing.
“Realistically it might be too much for some local families,” said Gina Kudrzycki of Port Jefferson and a teacher at Riverhead High School. “It depends on whether it’s a good pie or not.”
The business is located in a storefront that was once part of downtown’s Robert James Salon. Salon owner and Riverhead Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill partitioned that section off from his storefront about eight months ago after downsizing the salon’s space due to the lagging economy, he said.
“I hope they’re successful. I pray that they’re successful,” Pickersgill said of the new venture. “I would say there are a lot of people who will use their service. You never know what is going to work and what is not going to work in this world.”
Gurley, a finance operations consultant, said he chose Riverhead because of its central East End location and the ongoing revitalization of Main Street. Patchogue’s PeraBell Food Bar will soon open a location nearby and applications will soon be available for 19 affordable housing apartments in the former Woolworth Building.
“Main Street is transforming,” Gurley said. “The revival of downtown Riverhead makes it really attractive.”
Two Brothers Take and Bake Pizza is located at 49 E. Main Street in Riverhead. Orders can be placed by calling (631) 740-9394.