Speedy RomeoIf you’ve been on “good boyfriend” duty, chances are you’ve seen this space as the new Café Grumpy from HBO’s hit series GIRLS. Hannah’s fictional work place is not just some dressed set, it’s actually Speedy Romeo- a pizza joint started by a chef buddies Justin Bazdarich and Todd Feldman, who met while attending Arizona State University.
Following his tenure working for famed chef Jean Georges, Justin longed for a change of pace. It was love at first sight when he stumbled upon a corner building, formerly an auto parts shop. So on January 27 2012, these Sun Devils opened Speedy Romeo on Classon and Greene. Named after Todd’s father’s beloved racehorse (his picture hangs in the kitchen), this place is doing some special things- not just making cool cable cameos.
On a cold winter night, after watching Peyton triumph over Tom, we settled in for dinner at the bar. Long gone are the days of lube checks and oil changes, but the décor still evokes an industrial vibe that fits the transitioning neighborhood. Staying true to their origins, the kitchen staff dons mechanic shirts while white napkins are replaced with oil rags. Speedy Romeo may be billed as a place to grab a pie, but pizza is only a fraction of what they’re putting out. I start with the squash soup. Silky and smooth, it’s topped with a medley of crispy sprout leaves, pancetta, and walnuts. The cream added a richness that played well with the textural elements. It was easily the best soup I’ve had all winter.
From the gleaming orange inferno emerged the margherita- simple and delicious. Their famous mozzarella bubbling like lava, the crust was blistered with just the right amount of char from the wood-burning oven. There’s also the option of adding house-made pickled chiles that you receive upon arrival. These little packets of heat are great on your pie or as a meal starter. Grilled to a perfect medium on a custom built wood grill, the pork chop is served sliced and presented family style. It is winter on a plate. The dish is served with brussels sprouts, apples, and pancetta that have all been glazed by a beautiful Kelso, molasses reduction. Save room for dessert. A beach of graham cracker crumples surround the chocolate cake which gets its signature brand from a hot prod that lives on burning wood. With the first bite, you’re literally teleported to the campfire side. Do yourself a favor and head over to 376 Classon Ave before it becomes overrun with Girls. -words and photos by Elle Clay