Pizza by Cer té is a new, eco-friendly pizza spot that opened in midtown last month. Ingredients are locally sourced and the construction was LEED-certified. We talked to executive chef and owner Edward Sylvia about why he decided to go green and more.
What made you want to open a green pizzeria?
I don’t want our generation to be responsible for leaving a mess to my kids.
As a chef it’s a natural inclination to use local ingredients — they’re fresher and better tasting. There are a couple of ingredients that are regional, but the majority are local, within about 150 miles. Some things are impossible, like flour, which is King Arthur, from Vermont.
As far as the construction, we wanted to take it to the next level. I had the opportunity because we were building from scratch.
What are some of the greenest elements?
Rain water is filtered to grow herbs. All the material being used to build is recycled. Utensils are made from material derived from sugar. Pizza box, top is perforated and bottom, can be folded to use for storage.
Was it much more expensive to do it this way?
Yes, the construction was longer and much more expensive. [It was scheduled to open in early fall.] The city’s agencies are under-resourced.
What are some must-try dishes?
We make a topping with wild mushrooms that has a mushroom béchamel sauce, mozzarella and thyme (which is grown within the store).
For gluten free people, we use a chickpea flour, olive oil and water base. It’s thinner than pizza crust. It has a great nutty flavor.
There are other Italian entrees too, like Tuscan chicken “Under Brick” ($13.50) and Striped Bass “Cartoccio” (in paper) ($14.95)
What have you modeled it after?
Modeling it after a Joe’s [on Bleecker], which is a slice place, where you can walk in grab a slice and find some counter space. It’s very New York City. Bottom is crispy, can be folded, and the top is chewy Naples-style. The toppings are modeled after Dominick at Di Fara, we love him. We’re not saying it’s going to be the same, but as far as the cheese being grated, the herbs being cut, the smells and flavors will definitely be derived from him.
132 E. 56th St., btwn Park and Lexington Aves, 212-813-2020