Slow Fires will be popping up at Southold General offering wood-burning pizza to Einstein Square once more.
Founded in 2017 by Chef Justin Smillie, Slow Fires is an ode to traditional Italian pizza making with a unique twist on ingredients. The mobile pizza oven will serve up flavorful pies at Southold General every Thursday to Sunday through December.
“I have a deep respect for the Italian tradition and technique of pizza making,” said Smillie. “All my pizza dough is made using a natural fermentation – which means it takes up to 72 hours to put a pizza together from start to finish.”
For many years, Smillie was the executive chef at Il Buco Alimentari in Manhattan, where he became known for his exceptional wood-fired sourdough pizzas. This past summer, Smillie set up his pop-up pizza shop at Sunset Beach on Shelter Island, where he soon met Jonathan Tibbet, owner of Southold General. The two quickly struck up a conversation and decided that moving his venture to the North Fork this autumn would be the best next step.
“I love working on the North Fork,” noted Smillie. “The people are so nice and the produce is bonkers. I utilize a lot of preservation techniques for my ingredients, making sure to treat the ingredients simply and elevate their natural essence.”
His dough is a mix of poolish – a traditional Italian dough full of natural air bubbles – and homemade sourdough and will be served with a variety of toppings. Currently, seven pizzas will be on the menu at the Slow Fires pop-up. A classic Margherita pizza, with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil will accompany more unusual flavor combinations, like a Cacio e Pepe pizza, featuring fresh mozzarella, caciocavallo, labneh, and black pepper, and a Green Zebra Pizza, which Smillie describes as a “greek salad on a pie.”
Southold General has always had an emphasis on showcasing fresh local ingredients from around the North Fork, and Smillie’s pizzas are no exception.
“The flavors are bright and punchy and the I use tomatoes are cut super thin so they melt right into the crust,” he said. “I am also using a lot of local ingredients, like clams from Southold Fish Market for my little neck clam pizza which also has fresh mozzarella, provolone, salsa verde, fermented chili, and bread crumbs. It’s a real crowd-pleaser.”
Pizza will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis and Southold General will offer diners inviting outdoor seating in Einstein Square, where guests can enjoy a unique self-pour wine experience in partnership with local vineyards every two weeks.
“Meeting new people and forming relationships is the best part about a pop-up,” said Smillie. “This will be a good place for us to learn new things and strike up new relationships with local wineries.”
The pop-up pizzas will be available starting this Thursday, September 28, from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Each pizza is sold as a full pie and is priced between $22 to $27. Eventually, Smillie hopes to add more menu items such as soups, salads, and even his famous duck wings.
“For now it will just be me and my pizza,” added Smillie.
Southold General is located at 54180 Main Road, Southold