That's Amore

Siloam Springs restaurant prepares authentic Italian-style pizza from scratch

Posted: August 1, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Fratelli's Wood-Fired Pizzeria resides in a turn-of-the-century, brick building in downtown Siloam Springs. The family-owned and -operated restaurant specializes in freshly prepared, hand-tossed pizza that introduces authentic, Italian-style pizza to Northwest Arkansas.

The process to recreate the essence of Italian-style pizza includes many facets, starting with a Wood-Fired oven imported from Florence, Italy. Many basic ingredients are sourced from Italy, with the exception of the mozzarella, which is a whole-milk domestic cheese that provides a creamy, melted texture.

Fratelli’s Pizza

fwfpizzeria.com

118 S. Broadway St.

Siloam Springs

(479) 524-0766

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Thur, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri-Sat. Fratelli’s serves authentic, northern Italian-style, wood-fired pizzas using fresh ingredients, many of them imported from Italy. Salads, stromboli, gelato and various fountain drinks.

Co-owners Tom Leadabrand (left) and Scott Jones (right) share a philosophy that a person’s ability to eat should not be based on his or her’s ability to pay. Their faith-based mission to help feed the hungry takes the shape of a half-sized cheese pizza.

The Mezzaluna is listed on the menu of Fratelli’s Wood-Fired Pizzeria as a free option for a person in need of a meal that cannot afford one. The Mezzaluna is limited to one per person, per day.

The vegetables are sourced locally when in season, but the base of the dish is made consistently with simple recipes and imported Italian ingredients.

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AMBER STANLEY-KRUTH/NWA MEDIA During the college basketball tournament in March each year, the restaurant hosts a pizza brack...

Most pizza aficionados will qualify a pizza on primarily two components -- the dough and the sauce. It is upon these foundations that Fratelli's pizza champions the likeness of Italian-style pizza.

To achieve this, the flour used for the dough is milled in Naples, and the plum tomatoes used to make the sauce are grown in central Italy.

"We aim to replicate the pizzas you get in Italy. If you want Italian pizza, you need Italian ingredients," co-owner Scott Jones said.

Jones and his family spent seven months in Venice, Italy, and became enchanted by Italian food. Shortly after returning to the states, he and his brother-in-law, Tom Leadabrand, opened Fratelli's Wood-Fired Pizzeria in 2009.

"Our goal is simple -- if you were to leave Fratelli's, go to XNA, jump on a plane, fly to Chicago, then go to Rome or Florence or Venice and sit down at a pizzeria, you would say 'I just ate this pizza 12 hours ago is Siloam Springs, Arkansas,' " Jones said.

The owners build off the Italian-style preparation and offer a menu with combinations inspired from pizzerias around the world.

"We ask people visiting different countries to bring us menus from pizzerias," Jones said.

From those menus, new creations are inspired. The staff is also encouraged to suggest new varieties of toppings.

"We tell our employees this: The pizza in a lot of ways is a like a canvas -- you get to paint it however you want. We have a beautiful palette back there with all these different ingredients, so create works of art," Jones said.

"We hire a lot of art majors, for some reason," he remarked.

True to form, there is a menu offering titled "Pizzaiolo's Choice," which customers can order and won't know what will be delivered until it is served.

It is not a free-for-all, however, as there is a book of more than 20 recipes with unusual combinations that are tried and tested. Additionally, the pizza chefs grow to understand the preferences of regular customers and build off of that knowledge, Jones explained.

The Pizzailolo's Choice pizza often models other foods, such as the Country Fair made with butter, corn, salt and pepper.

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AMBER STANLEY-KRUTH/NWA MEDIA The Mangiafuoco pizza (left) has garlic-peperoncini oil, hand-crushed peperoncini, mozzarella, ...

If customers wish to retain control of ordering, build-your-own pizzas include a selection of toppings that include familiar favorites and some uncommon offerings.

In addition to Parmesan and provolone, Gorgonzola is an option. Fresh vegetables include arugula, basil, spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, jalapenos and sliced garlic. Artichoke hearts, black olives, eggplant, peperoncinis, sun-dried tomatoes and pineapple are also offered.

Meat toppings are sliced Italian sausage, pepperoni, anchovies, tuna and Italian meats including pancetta, prosciutto and speck.

There are about 30 signature pizzas that include American standards, such as veggie or meatball, as well as Italian classics, such as Margherita and Gorgonspeck.

Varieties include the Americana, Carbonara, Bavarian, Ranchero, Mountaineer, Chicken Caesar, Eggplant Parmigiana, Mile High Salute, Bruschetta and Big Kahuna. The full menu with listed ingredients is available online at fwfpizzeria.com/menu.

The dessert pizzas are another area that the cooks and owners can spread their culinary wings.

The Nutella uses the trademarked chocolate-hazelnut spread and tops it with powdered sugar. Fresh, sliced strawberries can be added for a nominal charge.

The Cinnamon Apple offers a brown sugar, cinnamon and sugar base topped thin-sliced apples, baked and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. A side of vanilla gelato is a perfect accompaniment.

When peaches are in season, a version of the Cinnamon Apple is created with fresh, local peaches. Seasonal offerings also include strawberry-rhubarb and pecan pie.

A freezer case beside the counter displays a variety of gelato offerings served in a sugar cone or a small or large cup.

Gelato is priced $2.50 for a small and $4 for a large. The dessert pizzas use the standard 12-inch pizza crust and start at $5. Build-your-own pizzas include tomato sauce and mozzarella for $7, with additional toppings priced $1-$2 per item. Signature pizzas are served on a 12-inch crust, feed 1-2 people and are priced $7-$11.

The menu also offers salads, Caprese, breadsticks, stromboli and a variety of beverages, including Italian sodas.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 08/01/2014

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