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Best Pizza: Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana

The focus here is on quality over quantity, which is why restaurant hours are from 4:30 p.m. until the dough runs out. Wood-fired pizzas are baked in a 1,000-degree oven from Italy, finished with house-made fior di latte and a selection of exceptional toppings. Come early, bring your favorite bottle, and savor a taste of Naples. 

The Main Line’s Top 40 BYOBs 2016: Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana

As this concept continues to evolve, here are local 40 spots that deserve to be in your regular rotation.

Dave Ravanesi’s family-run hot spot is serious about its authentic, flavorful Neapolitan pizza—like the classic Margherita or Bianco, made in a wood-fired oven set at no less than 1,000 degrees. Arrive early: Ravanesi regularly sells out of dough.


Why You Should Be Eating Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana’s Pizza

By Nathan Greenwood, The Town Dish.com
April 6, 2015

ravanesi pizzeria

It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday night in Glen Mills, and there is a line out the door. This is the kind of popularity that all restaurants strive for, and the type of cult following that Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana has. With limited hours (read: until out of dough) and limited menu offerings, the focus here is truly on quality over quantity, and that’s what keeps people coming back … in droves.

Ravanesi doesn’t even do takeout on their busiest nights because as chef and owner Dave Ravanesi says, “This food is meant to be consumed right away, hot out of the oven.” I had the chance to catch up with Dave and ask him some in-depth questions about his love for making and sharing great Neapolitan-style pizza. Here’s what he had to say:
The Town Dish: Your website says that your dough takes 30 hours to make. Can you tell us more about the process?

Dave Ravanesi: I made a natural starter about five years ago and have been working with it for years. The fermentation process is a touchy one, as sourdough cultures can be acidic. I personally don’t like it too acidic. This is about the length of fermentation time that works for me. I’ve tried every which way. There really are no big secrets. It more depends on the time it takes to reach the flavor profile I like. My dough mixes very little. I let time and folding work the dough.

ravanesi pizzeria

What’s your favorite pizza?

It depends—it’s tough to say. Pizza is so diverse in the range it has. I’m all over the place. I like when people push the boundaries and try different things. I know a lot of purists, but I like it all, even if I wouldn’t eat it every day.

Favorite foods besides pizza?

Italian is number one, but I love Mexican food. Italian and Mexican I can live off of—the hotter the better.
Any recommended beverage pairings for the Ravanesi menu?

I originally thought about doing that, but what I realized is people like different things all the time. There are so many diverse palates—whatever you want to drink with it is good by me. My thing is I want you to enjoy yourself.

ravanesi pizzeria

What in your opinion are the most crucial elements of the perfect Neapolitan pizza?

I’ll say this: first of all it’s got to be in balance. The key to all good food is that there’s a balance. You have five senses and (as a cook) you’re playing against those. The perfect pizza has a crisp and light crust, one that has a crunch but is tender. I tend to prefer a chewier dough. Balance of the ingredients, where none are overpowering the others, is key. All the ingredients in harmony, that’s the goal for me.

What is the fastest you’ve sold out of pizza?

6:40 p.m.—but I was making pizzas until after 8 p.m., which is why I don’t do takeout orders on Friday or Saturday anymore. This particular product is not meant to travel anyway.

ravanesi pizzeria

Any plans to expand or add to the menu?

There’s a few things I’d like to do, but it wouldn’t stick to the traditional Neapolitan pizzas. I’m working with some smoked speck … we’ll see. If it’s really a wow factor then I’ll put it on there, otherwise I won’t. What’s the point of having an item on the menu that’s not to die for?

Luckily for me, catching up with Dave also meant indulging in some of Ravanesi’s delicious pizzas straight from the oven. Dave’s pizzas are demonstrative of his attention to detail, as well as to how wonderfully he has honed his craft. The flavors, textures and balance of toppings were in perfect harmony with the slightly chewy, yet tender and crisp crust.

It’s evident that Ravanesi’s house-made fior di latte and pizza dough are central to the pies, which showcase only fresh, top-quality ingredients. For people who love great Neapolitan-style pizza, Ravanesi is the perfect place to enjoy pizza of uncompromising quality, baked by a true craftsman. Be sure to check them out online and on their Facebook page.


Passion for Pizza: Restaurateur offers big taste Naples-style

By Kathleen Carey, Delaware County Daily Times
Thursday, April 10, 2014

David Ravanesi
Owner David Ravanesi stands with a peel to take pizza out of an oven he imported from Naples, Italy, for his restaurant. Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana is located at 790 Baltimore Pike in Glen Mills and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 4:30 p.m. until they run out of dough. (Times Staff / JULIA WILKINSON )

CONCORD — It’s a tiny, 28-seat pizzeria tucked into a mostly vacant strip mall along Baltimore Pike. It only has seven items on its menu. And it’s only been open for three weeks.

But customer demand has forced Ravanesi Pizzeria Napoletana to close early some Fridays and Saturdays because he runs out of his delectible hand-made pizza dough.

“When you come here,” David Ravanesi, the entrepreneur’s father, said, “it’s an experience that you’ll remember. (My son) puts his heart and soul into this place.”

Some might ask why - why another pizza place in Delaware County?

“It’s not another pizza place,” the owner, also David Ravanesi, said. “It’s not another pizza place. (Locals) don’t have Napoletana pizza, they have regular pizza.”

The story of the restaurant’s opening began 20 years ago at the Italian island resort of Capri when Ravanesi found the perfect pizza. “I remember it being very oily,” the 46-year-old Boston native said. “I was like, ‘What the heck?’ But, the flavor was unbelievable.”

He continued to taste test through Naples, Italy, where he found the perfect oven.

And, then it began - an obsession with pizza. “I think it’s the simplicity of it,” he said. “To make something so beautiful from just a few products.”

Some of the customers of his new business share that passion.

“We get a lot of people who order a pizza to go and they see it come out of the oven so fast,” said Ravanesi. “They go, ‘Oh, I want to eat a slice before I go.’ And, they’ve eaten the whole pizza before they’ve gotten to the door.”

His 5,500 pound oven itself is special. Ravanesi had it imported from the Napoli oven maker Gianni Acunto. It took a two-month Atlantic Ocean journey before bring hoisted into his shop through the front window with forklifts and wooden beams during a snowstorm.

Dome shaped, the heat from the oak wood burns to 1,400 degrees at its apex and to 800 degrees on the floor.

Ravanesi’s pizza recipe comes from a lot of experimentation. He tried many different ingredients and recipes for bread.

He makes the bread and cheese, by hand, every day. It takes 30 hours to make the bread. “To get the flavor in dough, time is your friend,” Ravanesi explained. “This is just flour, water and salt and time.”

He’ll make 50 pounds of dough for his 14-inch pizzas, fresh, every day.

“The dough never carries over,” Ravanesi said. “What I don’t sell, I throw out. I’m not giving somebody old dough. That’s just not happening.”

He also crafts his cheese, a fior di latte, cow’s milk mozzarella. He ladles 180-degree water over chunks of curd, then mixes and stretches it with his hands until it reaches the perfect consistency.

For Ravanesi, his product, developed to his own taste sensibility, will stand on its own.

“If you want a quality pizza, then hopefully, (you’re) giving me a chance,” he said. “This process takes a little time, but, to me, it’s all worth it in the end.”

And, in all cases, Ravanesi knows he’s poured all of his craftsmanship and effort into creating a delectable pie.

“Whatever you’re going to do, do it the best you can do it,” Ravanesi said. “Some people might not like it, that’s ok. Whatever it is, try to do it the best you can do it. When you come in here, I’m going to give you everything I can give and, hopefully, that’s enough.”


Posted on Sun, May. 9, 2010

He looks to the future and sees pizza

Given his druthers, Dave Ravanesi would be the one making the pizza, not just eating it. But he was giving the impression, nonetheless, that he was enjoying himself one recent evening, the air balmy, the sidewalk scene easy outside Zavino, the pizza and wine bar at 13th and Sansom.

He lofted his Margherita, examining the constellation of chars (almost counting them, it seemed) on its bottom. He turned it sideways like a carpenter sighting down a board for evidence of warp, studying the bubbling in the crust.

A passerby could not be blamed for taking him for a shaven-headed food critic, or maybe - his expression so impassive - a not-entirely-pleased health inspector.

But he is something else entirely. Not just a student of pizza, though he has studied it closely. Not a mere appreciator, though he gets a visible rush discussing it.

No, he is a pizza geek of a higher order, far and away beyond your starry-eyed pizza blogger or average braggart (though he is not shy about his depth of learning).

There is a backstory to his story. But this is what's most important - and the hook that, after several e-mails, is what intrigues you enough to at least take him out for a bite: In frustration that at the age of 42 he did not yet have his own wood-burning oven, he went out to the Home Depot near the two-story Colonial he shares with his pharmacist wife, Jennifer, and toddler son south of Kennett Square, and bought a hacksaw.

With that hacksaw, he opened a whole new world in his kitchen. He sliced off the locking mechanism on his glass-topped GE electric range, enabling him to bake at the incinerating temperatures of the oven's cleaning cycle.

The cleaning cycle, in the event you have never stuck your head in to check, can hover easily upwards of 1,000 degrees. To a pizzahead, that is a beautiful thing. Ravanesi went out and spent $180 to buy the sort of infrared laser thermometer used by HVAC repairmen, a serious piece of equipment for a serious man.

There is a dome temperature in a pizza oven, and a floor temperature. The trick is to get the dome temperature to push the floor temperature up, but not so high that you burn the bottom of the pie.

After an hour at 1,000 degrees, Ravanesi says, you need to keep the pizza stone covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil so it doesn't get too hot too quick: He's looking for a floor temperature close to 810 degrees. At that temperature, he can bake a simple pie in a minute and 40 seconds.

Now and then, he invites friends and neighbors. Four came the first time; now 50 might show up. I've penciled in a June date, his next demo.

Yes, he would like to open a pizza shop one day. Maybe in West Chester, or if he comes by a sudden unexpected bequest, perhaps, in the city. But this has not been his singular dream. At 19, he tried his luck as a singer/songwriter in Los Angeles. The rockers told him he had more of a country sound. He went to Nashville. He played all over town: Dave Rav, on stage. He never really caught on major fire.

He went to the Restaurant School on Walnut Street. He has a day job as a corporate chef for Compass, sometimes even making - from its menu - a pizzalike thing that, in his view should probably be prohibited from appropriating a name he holds so dear and holy.

He learned the pizza basics at the knee of his Italian immigrant grandfather. His mother had a cooking show on cable in a suburb of Boston. He has studied the finer points of dough - he uses only flour, water, salt, and a little starter - and the differences that wild yeast makes, and how it affects the look of a slice. He has paid master bakers for tutorials.

He makes his own mozzarella, preferring cow's milk with 3.8 percent butterfat, not water buffalo milk which, at over 6 percent, he finds weeps too much liquid as it melts.

He has a dough-ball/ounces-to-pie-crust-diameter-ratio that he hews to religiously, asking puzzled servers what ratio their bakers use.

By the end of the evening, Ravanesi has moved on to Osteria on North Broad Street, having a nightcap of sorts - a pliant Neapolitan pie, slicked with mortadella, and a swirl of rich pistachio pesto.

He peers into the mouth of its wood-burning oven, and you cannot help but wonder if somewhere back there Dave Ravanesi is looking for something that looks, well, a lot like his future.


(484-840-8912) BYOB!
Open Tuesday - Saturday from 4:30PM until we run out of dough.

Tuesday & Wednesday: Dine in & Take out
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: Dine in only

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