After a shift in ownership and management, the popular Mercury Pizza restaurant on South Lamar is back open. Chef Blake Moffitt, who was originally brought on as a consultant, purchased the business on August 1st and reopened the restaurant on August 15th. Moffitt and his crew serve up delicious New York-style pizza out of a quaint red house at the corner of Kinney and Lamar, adorned with neon red signs and a fenced-in courtyard. New York style pizza with huge slices and fun flavor profiles.
Moffitt, who also owns Blake’s on 6th, has a long history in the food industry. He originally graduated culinary school in 2001 and moved to France to train under Chef Daniel Hebetin. He then trained under Chef Michel Depardon and later studied cheese making under Dr. Larry Faillace at Three Shepherds Farm in Vermont.
Once he made his way to Austin, Moffitt worked as a personal chef before spending time at a few of Austin’s top restaurants in Fabi and Rosi, 34th Street Safe, and Shoreline Grill. He then developed Elevated Artisanal Goods, a full-service catering company, and then opened Blake’s on 6th, a cafe that utilizes farm-to-table practices with an ever-changing menu featuring local produce, meats, artisanal cheeses and soups. Moffitt applies his wealth of knowledge and food experience to come up with some of the fun flavor profiles offered at Mercury Pizza.
“We try out new variations just about every night,” says Moffitt. “A lot of the ideas come from my fine dining background, knowing what flavors work really well together. A lot of things I like to do are a contrast of flavor and texture.”
I tried the “Hells Bells,” an off-the-cuff creation for those who like it hot. The pizza comes with several layers of heat, including cayenne pepper, red pepper flake, sriracha and jalapeño, complimented with olive oil, garlic, and a touch of sweet pineapple. It’s New York-style pizza, with some of the biggest individual slices I’ve ever seen.
“What makes our pizza New York-style is the way we do the crust,” says Moffitt. “It’s a recipe that one of the guys that I helped conceptualize Mercury with has used for 15 years because he’s from Brooklyn. Another thing is that we use Grande Cheese, a true New York product that you don’t see a lot of in Austin. Up there it’s not even pizza if it’s not Grande. It keeps the pizza really creamy.”
Moffitt also frequents the local Farmer’s Markets around Austin, and will soon add farm-to-table pizzas to the menu. Mercury also offers big salads, blunts (like a calzone), garlic knots and cheesy bread. Occasionally they will offer up a free keg of beer on the weekends to help wash down those enormous slices.
Mercury Pizza is open from 5pm until late 7 days a week, and also offers pizza delivery to the 78704 area code. It’s a great place to walk up and grab a quick slice, served up hot right out of the oven.
“We have been open for seven days and we have received a really good reception from the neighborhood,” says Moffitt. “Everybody seems to be happy that we’re back open.”
Count us among the people that are glad to have Mercury Pizza back.
For more information, visit www.mercurypizza.com
Photos provided by Ryan Goodrich