margherita pizza at fordo's killer pizza at city foundry stl photo by david kovaluk

2022 Best New Restaurants // No. 7 Fordo's Killer Pizza

For as much pizza as you can get in this town, Fordo's Killer Pizza has few rivals. 2022’s second concept from Gerard Craft's Niche Food Group merges time-honored pizza-making technique with inventive ideas. You could get into the technicalities of the dough (naturally leavened sourdough) or the fact that it's Neapolitan-inspired or why the pizza oven is special, but that would miss the point. There are supremely executed classics like a margherita or the marinara, juxtaposed with experimental options like the Hawaiian, chef and pizzaiolo Joe Luckey's favorite from the menu.

For the Hawaiian, Luckey makes a roasted pineapple sauce, rather than using it as a topping; it’s a smart way to incorporate the fruit’s tropical sweetness. The sauce is topped with red onion, mozzarella, jalapeños for edge and Volpi heritage prosciutto for a local twist. Each component plays a vital role in surprising you from bite to bite – spicy, savory, sweet and back again.

A special from the summer incorporated burrata, pistachios and a garlicky ramp pesto topped with a mellow mortadella shaved paper thin. Ramps' fleeting season meant it was here one day and gone the next. "Use things in their season, use things in their prime," is a Niche Food Group philosophy, Luckey explained. "There's also a running joke about how much I love pesto.”

Inspiration for new menu items can come from an ingredient, but more often it comes from the challenge of transforming a dish into a pizza, like the shakshuka with red pepper sauce, feta, shaved garlic, eggs and herbs. Right now, Luckey has his sights set on developing a khao soi pizza, inspired by the northern-style Thai dish made with chicken, coconut-curry soup, noodles and mustard greens. How the original will transform into a pizza seems mysterious, but at Fordo’s the rules are meant to be broken, yielding delicious results.