from the kitchen

Toss ‘n’ Fire Pizza moves authentic food from truck to restaurant

Courtesy of Toss 'n' Fire Pizza

Toss 'n' Fire Pizza serves salads, calzones and stromboli in addition to their extensive pizza menu.

Although there’s no shortage of pizza places in Syracuse, there isn’t one that particularly stands out as the best. A firm lover of thin crust, all of the bready, soft crusts that get delivered to my door at Syracuse University remind me of the pizza you would get at your 7th birthday party at Chuck E Cheese’s.

As a New Jersey native, I care a lot about pizza. Some say it is snobbery, I say it is just good taste. Especially because I’m from the tri-state area, I have been spoiled with great Italian food in general, making it difficult to find dishes — especially pizza — that are worthy of my time and money anywhere else.

I first heard of Toss ‘n’ Fire Wood-Fired Pizza when scanning the web for the highest rated pizza place in the city. They are primarily a catering company that operates two food trucks. These trucks are different than your average taco truck — they are custom built with wood-fire ovens inside that can be seen at farmers markets, festivals and catered events.

Recently though, they opened a permanent location in North Syracuse at 315 N. Main St. Toss ‘n’ Fire’s brick-and-mortar restaurant is very unassuming, sitting among the strip malls of the street.

Overall, the restaurant was very simple: it was clean, smelled great and the staff was extremely friendly. Like a traditional pizza place, they had a glass enclosure on the counter with slices to go, but there was also a large menu overhead with a decent amount of options. I decided to order the classic margherita pizza off their specialty wood-fired pizzas menu, so I could get a no-frills, unadulterated taste of what kind of pie they serve up.

After I ordered, the guys got right to work in the open kitchen preparing my food. After spooning on some sauce, laying down fresh mozzarella and finishing with a few leaves of basil, the pizza was put into a massive red oven filled with aromatic, burning wood. It was nice to be able to see right into the kitchen, making my dining experience more authentic.

A lot of places that make brick-oven or wood-fired pizza tend to make the mistake of putting a few huge globs of fresh mozzarella on top of the pie. Although cheese does make the world go around; if the pieces are too big, it weighs down the pizza and all the cheese slides off in the first bite.

Sauce is the most underrated aspect of pizza, in my opinion. A pizza is unacceptable with an underdeveloped, overlooked sauce. It has to be a little sweet and if you’re going for a traditional pizza taste, it has to have oregano. There should be enough sauce that you can see and taste it, but not so much that it makes the pizza soggy.

In only a few minutes, the pizza was ready and frankly, after smelling it cooking, my mouth was watering. Piping hot and melty, I bit into the first slice. At first sight, it looked beautiful. The red, white and green of the Italian flag was represented, the cheese wasn’t overwhelming and the sauce wasn’t dried up. The top of the crust was a little charred — which I love — and the basil was a little roasted.

I take a bite and wow, the crust was unbelievable. The wood smoke really flavors the crust. The sauce is sweet and the mozzarella was fresh and salty. It wasn’t super crispy like a normal brick oven pizza — but almost delicate, like a pizza on a pastry. This pizza was both beautiful and delicious — definitely a wonderful surprise.

The other pizzas on the menu sound incredible too, like the “Fig ‘n’ Pig,” fig jam topped with gorgonzola, mozzarella, pecorino Romano, prosciutto and balsamic; a caprese with a house-made nut free basil pesto and my personal favorite, BBQ Chicken. They also offer appetizers like wings and garlic bites as well as salads — for those people who, for some reason, decide to order salad over pizza.

Although the drive from campus was a little long, I would definitely recommend taking the trip if you treasure your pizza-eating experience. Toss ‘n’ Fire really knows what they are doing with that oven. With fresh ingredients and a beautiful menu, it is definitely worth trying out.


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