A view of Biga’s woodfired oven//All Photos by Steve Legato.
“I guess I have a thing for four-letter words,” Sean Weinberg says sheepishly.
He’s alluding to the spelling of Alba, the acclaimed Italian-American restaurant he runs in Malvern with his wife, Kelly. The same can now be said of Biga Pizza + Beer, his latest offering. Tucked between Bryn Mawr’s train station and its hospital on an oddball corner that looks a bit like Philly’s Mayfair section, Biga has a no-nonsense vibe that matches its (somewhat) gritty locale.
From Left: Biga’s Daytripper and Da Bomb pizzasberries; the dining area
To expand: Where Alba is a neatly pressed polo shirt, khaki pants and polished loafers, Biga is a black T-shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylors. The 40-seat space is spare—almost garage-like—with red-brick walls and a smattering of wooden tables. A surreal graffiti-sprayed mural is the focal point, while ’80s New Wave and classic rock thrum in the background.
Its name an Italian reference to a basic dough starter, Biga is based around a concept Weinberg credits to chef Steve Fulmer. “Steve fell in love with pizza-making,” Weinberg says. “And we began to see that the area was in need of something you’d find in the city.”
The deliciously yeasty, fire-blistered pies are first cold-fermented in a fridge for up to 36 hours to give the flour dough both crackle and chew. My favorites are the Kingdom—topped with bacon, beer-braised onions and goopy scamorza cheese—and the Leave It to Beav, with speck and wilted spinach. The margherita was also tasty, though its center was a bit too moist.
From Left: Executive chef Steve Fulmer preps Da Bomb; buttermilk-fried cauliflower, sweet corn, tomato, red onion and cucumber with green goddess dressing
Regulars range from families, hospital workers and college students to couples and beer geeks. Like me, they all seemed to enjoy the non-pizza items, as well, from the hearty arancini—deep-fried breaded rice balls with a piping-hot mozzarella center—to an escarole salad proteined out with fresh tuna chunks.
The pastas were also worthy of note—especially the eggy tagliatelle with roasted mushrooms and pancetta, and a delicious lasagna with creamy ricotta. The dessert menu benefits from the decadent artisan gelato of Jenny & Frank’s in Norristown.
At Biga, my own favorite four-letter word is ever-present: beer. Over 60 bottles and cans (and a few hard ciders) are available, along with a rotation of drafts. At heart, though, Biga is a serious pizza joint that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Da Bomb, with soppresatta, tomato, mozzarella, basil and Calabrian chiles.
BIGA pizza + beer
810 Glenbrook Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-4800.
Cuisine: Neapolitan pizzas, classic salads and a vast beer selection.
Atmosphere: Rustically hip.
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 1–3 p.m. Sunday. Dinner: 4:30–9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 4:30-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4:30-8 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.
Extras: Sidewalk seating; $10 corkage fee waived on Mondays.