NEW JERSEY - At Riccio's Pizzeria and Ristorante in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, pizza starts with the dough---which, yes, we realize is probably technically true of every pizza pie everywhere in the history of ever, but whereas most pizza shops rely on tradition and a healthy dose of mysticism to create their pies, Riccio's turned to science, engineering the building blocks of its dough at the molecular level.
"The water makes all the difference in the world," Riccio's owner and founder Richard Riccio said. "There is a major difference between New York water and New Jersey water."
Before Riccio opened the pizzeria on weekends only at the end of April, he knew to create pies and slices with the crunchy, thin crust the rest of the pizza-eating planet associates with New York City, he needed first to duplicate the natural properties of New York City water that when mixed with flour creates dough with the ideal gluten structure.
"You're going to get an authentic New York-style pizza," Riccio said.
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"This isn't really a New York-style pizza," New York Water Maker president and CEO Paul Errigo said. "It's actually authentic New York pizza."
Errigo sold Riccio a patented seven-step water replication system able to replicate any water source in the world.
"It filters," Errigo said, "it disinfects with ozone and ultraviolet light, it changes the frequency of the water molecule itself, it filters down to one micron."
Riccio, unsurprisingly, chose to reproduce the New York City water, fed into five boroughs taps from aquifers in the Catskills, many credit with the superiority of this city's bagels, bread and pizza.
"That's really what makes New York pizza so unique," Errigo said.
"It's the crispiness and it's how it comes out of the oven," Riccio said.
Errigo has sold his New York Water Maker systems all over the country, spreading the gospel of authentic New York pizza to the uninitiated.
Riccio's opens seven days a week on Memorial Day.