We Built a Hearth for You to Eat At and a Bar for You to Get Drunk At!
Is the Hearth or the Bar the heart and soul of a great restaurant experience? Of course we’ve made our life’s work gathering around a hearth, but also we always choose to sit at the bar for dinner when we go out any time we can. Our bar is certainly the most prominent feature of the front dining room we’ve built here at 338 Hamilton Ave., while our restored turn of the century Scotch Oven dominates the kitchen. We love building fires together and we love boozing together and we wanted these two critical monoliths in our midst to talk to each other somehow. The conversation about what to build the bar out of (and the exhaustive research) went on for conservatively 2 years…zinc, concrete, thinset concrete over plywood, black walnut…
Soapstone! We have been buying our soapstone tiles for our mobile oven floors from M. Teixeira Soapstone in New Jersey since 2008. They are a small, very fine family-owned business that pulls soapstone from a quarry in Brazil near where the owner, grew up. On one trip to buy tiles for a new oven floor, owner Roger Tiexeira offered access to his dumpster – we could take anything we wanted. When we peeked over the sill we saw a wealth of stones: gorgeous, huge pieces of cut stone that had small flaws, broke on a bad angle, or were simply the excess pieces from larger more valuable cuts. We spent the day loading our van with as much stone as we could carry and they welcomed us back a second time to salvage, again, as much as we could carry.
We lay the large pieces out on our plywood bar top underlayment and played the most maddening, long, physically exhausting, critical game of Tetris of our lives. Dave cut the stones out on the sidewalk of Hamilton Avenue, using a worm drive circular saw and a spray bottle of water to keep the blade from getting too hot.
It’s the beefiest, heaviest bar around. But we love it – it’s got the color and texture we were looking for and echoes Moto’s other heart and soul – the hearth – by using materials we’ve used for years to build our ovens and the surface on which all of our pizzas are cooked. The excess stone from Roger’s dumpster went into the oven floor here as the perfect medium on which to cook pizza next to a super blazing wood fire.