Logan Ely presents his future concept of “Smash Pizza” to the press

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  • MABEL SUEN
  • Chef Logan Ely will be bringing crushed pizzas to Fox Park in the coming months.

Building on the success and popularity of its Fox Park restaurant, the lucky accomplice (2501 South Jefferson Avenue, 314-354-6100), Chef Logan Ely is preparing to take on another project: a new restaurant just down the street called hurry (2505 Jefferson Avenue South) this will be based on a type of pizza that someone is not sure has already made.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we love to have fun with food and we love to play with our food,” Ely says. “We had this fun idea that we acted on right away, and it sounds a little crazy. It was this idea to make this calzone pizza thing called ‘smash pizza’, that looked eye-catching. We made four of them. and were like, ‘Well let’s open a restaurant.’ It just sounded catchy enough. ”

For anyone who has followed Ely’s career since his return to the Saint-Louis scene in 2017, the idea of ​​him opening a pizzeria may seem unusual. Ely’s resume includes renowned restaurants such as French Laundry in Napa Valley, Blue Hill in New York, and North Pond in Chicago, not to mention the fact that he has cooked all over Copenhagen to Hong Kong and reintroduced himself into St. Louis diners through an elegant, avant-garde tasting menu restaurant, Shift (formerly Savage). For him to channel such an impressive experience in a pizzeria would, at first glance, be like Picasso leaving the fine art world to paint the walls of finished basements.

However, when you dig into the idea behind Press, you quickly realize that this is not an ordinary pizza dive. Like the Lucky Complice, where his intention of making casual fare turned out to be one of the most exciting restaurants in town, Ely’s take on pizza involves a complete reinvention of the genre. He and his team start with the same dough you would use in a traditional pizza or calzone, then stretch it across the bottom of a cast iron press (think a waffle press without the squares), fill it with various fillings, place more dough on top, then mash it between the plates of the iron. But Ely did not end there. Once the pressed and filled dough comes out of the press, he and his team cover it with more fillings and cut it into triangles. The result is a cheesy, gooey, calzone-filled concoction that’s guaranteed to be the comfort food in town.

“Is that a pizza?” »Ély asks. “Type of.” Is it a calzone? Type of? This is a sandwich ? Sort of, but ‘smash pizza’ just sounds like that. ”

Press will be located just south of Lucky Complice in a small brick storefront that Ely is currently renovating. He says the space won’t be huge, but there will be enough room for a seated dining area; he’s also hoping to add a substantial patio that will connect him to the Lucky Complice, and he’s in talks with an architect to see what’s possible on that front. While it does not yet have a firm opening date, it is aiming for late winter or early spring.

With the addition of Press to Lucky Complice’s Jeffersonian block, Ely hopes this represents one more step in making this stretch of southern St. Louis more pedestrian-friendly. He notes that the municipal government is currently considering slowing vehicle traffic in the area to make it more of an entertainment and dining district – something he is happy to do its part to facilitate.

“It’s such a historic block,” says Ely. “If we can keep adding to it and making it safe and workable, we’ll do what we can. ”

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