SOMERS, N.Y. – Dean Medico and his Pizza Luca are bringing an authentic Neapolitan pizza to Somers, and in a most unusual way – on the back of a 1952 flatbed Chevy truck. Medico is the owner of a mobile pizzeria, Pizza Luca, where he makes 12-inch individual pies from the finest imported ingredients available.
“There’s an organization called the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana [association of true Italian pizza] that sets the standards,” said Medico. “Neapolitan pizza is all about the ingredients, the process and the technique. And, like other traditional Italian food, it’s about simplicity.”
Medico imports his "00 ground flour" from the Caputo Company in Naples. He uses buffalo mozzarella from the province of Campania and sea salt from Trapani in Sicily. Tomatoes benefit from "terroir," that is, the special characteristics of the soil and climate, just like wine and olives, said Medico. "San Marzano is a type of tomato. You can grow it anywhere. But the San Marzano tomatoes that grow near Naples get a unique quality from the volcanic soil. It’s a nice balance of sweetness and acidity.”
Medico studied cooking at New York’s French Culinary Institute, now known as the International Culinary Center. “I was a printer for 18 years, but the economy hit the industry hard, so I went to cooking school,” he explained. “I always had a passion for food and cooking, and my father’s family comes from the Campania area.”
The Chevrolet truck was purchased from a Pennsylvania farmer who pampered it for 60 years. It has been totally fitted out with drop walls, mahogany trim, sanitation sinks, water, power and a pizza oven that reaches over 900 degrees. All permits are in order.
Four different kinds of pizza are available, all individual size and priced at $12. You can order Caesar salad, Italian ices and soft drinks, too.
This week, Pizza Luca will be parked at the intersection of Routes 100 and 118 (south of Route 35) on Thursday and Friday, 4:30 to 8 p.m., weather permitting. “Route 100 is a state highway. Only veterans can vend on state highways,” Medico explained. “I was in the Marines.”
The truck is at the John Jay Homestead farmers market on Saturdays. Medico caters private parties in the tri-state area for up to 125 people. For more information, go to www.pizzaluca.com.