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New Forno Bravo WFO in Coeur d'Alene Restaurant

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  • New Forno Bravo WFO in Coeur d'Alene Restaurant

    Mmm ... sounds wonderful!

    Link: (Spokesman-Review)

    Fire Artisan Pizza opens in Coeur d?Alene

    Pull up a chair to the bar at Fire Artisan Pizza where diners can watch as crusts are stretched, topped and baked in the wood-fired oven.

    Doug Johnson, managing partner, says they designed the open kitchen to be a welcoming feature of the new restaurant. ?We wanted it to have a warm feeling during the wintertime,? he says.

    Dough is made from scratch daily using local Shepherd?s Grain flour and Johnson says they buy produce from the nearby farmers market to top the pizzas. The seasonal produce also helps inspire pizza specials, dreamed up by Johnson and kitchen manager Matt Brawner.

    Johnson most recently worked at Nighthawk Radiology Services, but spent most of his professional career working for and managing restaurants. He was with the Coeur d?Alene Resort for 11 years in various food and beverage jobs and served as the general manager of Hotel Lusso and the former Fugazzi for five years.

    The centerpiece oven is a Forno Bravo, shipped from Monterey, Calif., in seven pieces and assembled in the restaurant. It?s heated by burning apple wood and other hardwoods.

    The pies, stretched into a 14- by 9-inch rectangle, take just minutes to bake in the 800-degree oven. They are served on custom-made butcher block boards.

    Johnson says they wanted the restaurant to blend the history of the building with a modern feel. To do it, they brought in chic contemporary lighting to accent the exposed concrete and reclaimed barn wood. Huge black-and-white images from area photographer Jed Conklin feature urban scenes and people engaged in ?foodie pursuits,? Johnson says.

    The menu is divided into three simple categories: starters, pizza and sweets.

    Starters include salads, a baked three-cheese onion soup, the popular packed portabella and a market tour block, including charcuterie meats, cured olives, nuts, dried fruit and freshly baked bread ($14). The packed portabella is a mushroom cap that can be stuffed with either a meat or cheese mixture ($7).

    There are 10 pizzas on the fixed menu, with rotating specials, ranging in price from $10 to $15. Diners can also make their own pie by choosing any of the restaurant?s available toppings.

    Popular choices include the Gordy, topped with dates and gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses on an olive-oil base. A balsamic reduction is drizzled over the pizza after it comes out of the oven.

    The most popular pizza is the margherita ($11), featuring mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, crushed garlic, fresh basil and olive oil. Second to the margherita is the meat pizza, topped with fennel sausage, pepperoni, salami, back bacon, tomato sauce and cheese ($15).

    Dessert choices include a daily crisp offering with vanilla bean ice cream for $5, or a bittersweet chocolate chip cookie topped with gray sea salt.

    ?It?s about five inches across and it?s just a great way to end the meal. It has a crispy edge, and it?s slightly underbaked in the center. People are ordering them to-go, Johnson said.?

    Fire Artisan Pizza, 517 Sherman Ave., Coeur d?Alene, is open daily at 11:30 a.m. The restaurant closes at 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Daily specials are announced on the restaurant?s page on Facebook. Reach the restaurant at (208) 676-1743.