Everyone loves a good slice of pizza, but not all slices are created equal. Finding just the right pizza can be elusive. That’s where Dave Baer and Dave Wood come in with Firenza. Baer and Wood opened their first restaurant in their home state of Virginia in 2015. Since then, the duo has expanded their reach across the U.S., spanning from Virginia to California.
This past March, Firenza [Florence is called Firenze in Italy] brought its fast-casual pizza chain to Plymouth, its first Minnesota location and its first Midwest location as well, says Baer. Ajay and Kirtibala Deshmukh are the restaurant’s owners and operators, and the two say they plan to open more Minnesota locations in the future, says Plymouth Firenza’s general manager Marco Angeles.
Firenza is the Deshmukhs’ first venture into pizza, but Ajay is no stranger to the culinary world—when he was growing up, his family owned a restaurant in India.
“We knew there were pizzerias around Plymouth, but we wanted to provide a fresh product for the community and for families,” says Angeles. “Plymouth is a growing city, and there aren’t a lot of places that do a similar style to what we do.”
The goal with Firenza, Angeles says, is to make deciding what to have for dinner a whole lot easier. After 12 years in the restaurant industry, Angeles is excited about the Plymouth location and says both picky and adventurous eaters will be happy with their experience.
What makes Firenza’s pizza so good? Baer says the crust is really what sets their pizza apart from competitors. Firenza uses 00 Italian flour, which is the finest grind available and the secret to making their dough perfect, Baer says. “With this flour, the pizza is nice and crispy on the outside, but airy inside, which is exactly what we were looking for when [Wood and I] were testing the dough out.”
The pizza is then baked in a type of oven that Wood and Baer hand-picked for all of their locations, and cooked for three minutes, Baer says. Customers can expect fast service and a quick turn-around on their orders—perfect for those coming in with little ones.
Firenza’s pizzas range from classics like the Margherita to those a little outside the box like their chipotle chicken pizza. Sound tasty? Angeles says it’s one of his favorites, made with a chipotle sauce base, mozzarella, chicken, chipotle dressing and fresh-made pico de gallo on top. The spicy chipotle base is a perfect foil for the cooling mozzarella and fresh pico de gallo, Angeles says.
Customers can customize their order with a build-your-own option that includes a variety of cheeses, veggies and meats. There are also gluten-free and vegan options, and of course, cheese and pepperoni pizzas are always available.
“All the cheeses we use are premium quality. We use a 50-50 blend of mozzarella and provolone, bleu cheese, ricotta and others. We also have vegan cheese,” says Ajay Deshmukh.
Lighter selections, or options for starters, include Firenza’s salads. Picky eaters can build their own salads, or choose from classics like Greek or antipasto salad to fit the Italian eatery theme.
For those seeking bold flavors, Angeles recommends the assortment of oven-baked chicken wings, with flavors like Caribbean-jerk rub, Buffalo-style and barbecue. Angeles also suggests the cheesy breadsticks for serious cheese lovers.
Firenza added beer and wine to the menu in June, and their selections include local brews.
And what better place to enjoy a cool beer on a hot summer day than Firenza’s patio? Angeles says the outdoor seating has been popular since opening up for the season in May. Sit under a shaded umbrella, sip your beer and enjoy some quality pizza.