Ely Loves Local

The Wedge Pizzeria

By / Photography By Elyse Fair | August 25, 2015
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I was lucky to grow up in a home where my mom was an amazing cook. But this also meant that we rarely actually went out to eat. And when we did it was always the same neighborhood Chinese place – which we still go to every time we take my mom out to eat. So when my husband, Ryan, and I got married and moved to Oklahoma City, getting to try new restaurants was our favorite date night experience and, to this day, is still one of our favorite activities.

The Wedge was our first official local love. It was the first place in my novice going-out-to-eat experiences that was intimate and one-of-a- kind. I was so enthralled with the interesting combinations and concepts that blew my previous cheese and pepperoni pizza experiences out of the water. It was also the first place that we had dined that had a focus on clean and locally sourced ingredients. And as a small business owner, I appreciate that The Wedge sources as much as they can from local suppliers or their own garden.

I spent a morning with KC Ortega connecting with the quaint little pizza shop, and in return I learned the ways that The Wedge aspires to connect with and serve its patrons and community.

Restaurant Name: The Wedge Pizzeria

Locations: 2 Oklahoma City Locations: Western, 4709 N Western Ave. & Deep Deuce, 230 NE 1st St

Your Name/Position: KC Ortega, General Manager

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in the food industry?

Everything I do is inspired by my family, including my job at The Wedge. It is very important to me to run a business that is actively thinking about how it impacts the future of our world, to set that example for my children.

My first job in a restaurant was as a server assistant in fine dining at age 15. I’ve worked in locally owned restaurants ever since, about seven different concepts over the past 16 years. My passion for the food industry was clear from the beginning and The Wedge is everything that I believe a local restaurant/business should be.

What is your most vivid food memory, recently or in the past?

When we were first married, my husband and I held an apprenticeship on an organic farm. We were just beginning to learn about healing with whole foods and plant medicine. Nearly every day for lunch we would go and pick the young leaves & tops off of any and all edible plants for a salad. Plants like yellow dock, nasturtium, lemon balm, fennel, and dandelion, to name a few. The whole process of touching these healing plants, eating them, and knowing what they did for my body and mind was truly life changing.

What is your favorite pie on the menu?

The Snooze Bar on our brunch menu is my go-to right now, with or without eggs! It has fresh pesto, pine nuts, fresh tomato, roasted red onions and Asiago and goat cheeses.

When did The Wedge open its doors?

The Wedge was established in 2006, with the opening of the location on Western Avenue. The Wedge in Deep Deuce followed by opening its doors in 2010.

How did its name come about?

As many have noticed, The Wedge in the Deep Deuce building is wedge shaped. It was actually the first location scouted, as the concept developed, and because of the fun word play, the name fell into place.

What was the catalyst for opening The Wedge?

The partners of Deep Fork Group are always looking for gaps in the food industry to fill in, as they have a deep passion for great food and service. In 2006 there was no brick oven pizza in OKC, let alone artisanal. On top of that, we were at the forefront of the local food movement in OKC and it seemed like to right time to get the ball rolling. In the same way, we began offering grab-n-go breakfast at our Western location because we saw a need for a local restaurant to offer a fast, affordable breakfast option.

What album can we hear playing most often at The Wedge?

It depends on who is working! Our staff has a very eclectic taste. Everything new, old, popular, obscure, and they even sneak in some death metal from time to time.

Why pizza?

We decided early on that our focus would be pizza. It is one of the most simple, delicious meals on the planet. It’s every food group in one bite! When done right, the flavors can be incredibly dynamic and memorable. You’ll notice that our brick oven is our only cooking source, and our menu is very simple – pizza, antipasto, meatballs and salads. At The Wedge, nearly every table is a chef’s table in that you’re inside the entire kitchen the minute you walk in the door. You see the elegant process of creating an artisanal meal first hand and you taste the difference.

The Wedge has some pretty unique combinations of food, where did the inspiration for your menu come from?

The research and development for this menu was extensive. The owners and chefs visited famous pizzerias all over the US and abroad to find out what works and what doesn’t. The rest is adjusting to the feedback and cravings of our patrons.

Can you talk a little on The Wedge’s food theory?

Our theory is simplicity. Whole, fresh, clean ingredients combined daily. We use local ingredients as often as we are able, and that contributes to the flavor as well. With a simple, yet disciplined approach to preparing every component that ends up on the plate, there is a great deal of control and awareness the kitchen has with the menu. When everything is made in house, from scratch, you can taste it!

I know that sourcing locally is a big part of your business. Can you tell us a little about that?

We are very fortunate to have a community so passionate about supporting local. Our guests understand that our menu options reflect our conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint. Our friends at Urban Agrarian have been a huge help in keeping us connected with local suppliers and consistent, high quality product. Both Wedge locations have raised bed gardens where we grow several herbs, tomatoes and whatever else we can. Local beer is another staple at The Wedge. At our Deep Deuce location, all seven taps are local beers and both stores keep several local cans and bottles on the menu. Our favorite days of the year are our Local Beer Parties where representatives from all the local breweries come out to sample their brews and talk with our guests.

What ways has having a restaurant in Oklahoma City given you the opportunity to give back to the community?

Besides local food and beer, The Wedge loves to support our local arts and education communities. We sponsor several events and fundraisers throughout the year by donating food and raffle items as well as using our social media pages to promote awareness.

What do you think is the best part of having a restaurant in Oklahoma City? What ways do you hope to see the city grow?

The best part is the guests and the staff. Oklahomans are wonderful people to work with. Our staff is a family, and we feel our guests are family, too. It’s an exciting time to be in OKC. While evolving into a forward thinking metropolis we also retain our down-home friendly atmosphere and that’s something I really cherish.

Finally, any new or exciting developments in the menu that we can look forward to?

Always be on the lookout for our next pizza special. Right now we are featuring a brisket pizza made with poblano, garlic cream sauce, poblano peppers and roasted red onions… it’s so popular we may make it a menu item! Also, stay tuned in to our social media pages to see what’s new at breakfast at The Wedge on Western – every Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., you can get one breakfast item and a coffee for only $5!

Thank you so much KC for spending a morning with us! It was fantastic to get to know our first local love even better.

Article from Edible OKC at http://edibleoklahomacity.ediblecommunities.com/eat/wedge-pizzeria
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