Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria
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Ardé is an osteria and a Neapolitan pizzeria in the Italian sense,” says Pino DiMeo, chef and co-owner of Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria, a new trattoria in Wayne. “But it’s more than a pizza shop,” he adds, before unconsciously—almost imperceptibly—nodding his head toward a new pizzeria that just opened across the street from his own.
Sure, Wayne has a lot of them. By recent count, there are close to 20 eateries serving pizza in some form or iteration in and around its business district, including such notable dough-rollers as Pie in the Sky, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, Jules Thin Crust, Avero Italiano, Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria and, most recently, Vecchia, Ardé’s highly regarded neighbor.
Which is all beside the point because, as DiMeo notes, Ardé (meaning “flame” in Italian) is about so much more than just pizza.
The high-windowed corner space, with its charming train-station view, is made cozy with yards of reclaimed oak beams, tables and floor planks, plus a suspended row of amber-glowing Edison bulbs. On one wall, a striking hand-drawn mural by talented area artist Charlie Layton seems to draw diners into its representation of Campania, Italy, where buffalo graze peacefully by a river’s edge. A five-foot-high salumi display case is a nice decorative touch, too.
Behind the kitchen counter, the powerfully built Pino (who also owns Pizzeria DiMeo’s in Roxborough), his son, Antimo, and their partner, Scott Stein, bustle around the hulking wood-burning pizza oven. Weighing in at more than 5,000 pounds and glazed candy apple, the whimsically tiled beast produces pizzas that easily rival the area’s best.
Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria
Ardé uses Italian-sourced ingredients—specifically, Mozzarella di Bufala flown in weekly from Naples and naturally leavened 00 flour—to produce uncomplicated pies with an earthy taste profile. Selections include margherita, salsiccia (tomato confit with slow-roasted eggplant and sausage), and an arugula-and-prosciutto pizza that is formed into a hot, doughy ring encasing a cold, savory salad stuffing.
Ardé also goes beyond the ordinary with its breads, which are handmade by Antimo. He utilizes hand-mixed flours and sprouted Kamut berries to create a complex, sweet flavor. The aromatic results taste downright fertile and have toothsome crusts. The Old World loaf, in particular, balances organic stone-milled flours for a soft, airy interior.
We began a recent dinner by sharing the meat-and-cheese tasting board ($25), with shaved prosciutto San Daniele, coppa, and cured soppressata, each enhanced by three tempting formaggi. The table also split a small plate of fresh house-made pappardelle pasta, served al dente in a rich loam of mushrooms and duck ragù.
Shared as a second course, the four jumbo sea scallops were a study in contrasts. The tender mollusks were wrapped in salty speck and topped with broccoli rabe and shaved asparagus for a welcome bitter note. Their stracotto—Saegiovese-braised short ribs atop parsnip purée and Swiss chard—also received our hearty endorsement.
The minimal (but growing) dessert list included dough balls slathered in Nutella, turning them into sweet, puffy, pliant cinnamon rolls.
THE SKINNY: Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria offers an intimate neighborhood vibe that complements its owners’ commitment to fresh and authentic ingredients. In the early evening, the dining area fills with families, then gently melds into couples and friends. It’s a perfect spot for a light lunch, a Neapolitan pie or two, or a full supper. Just don’t call it a pizza shop.
DETAILS: Ardé Osteria & Pizzeria 133 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (484) 580-6786, www.ardewayne.com.
cuisine: Wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, charcuterie, cheese plates, handmade and imported pastas, small and large plates.
atmosphere: The 72-seat room is rustic and inviting.
hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
extras: BYOB; reservations accepted