During the pandemic, several new pizza pop-ups have proliferated around Seattle, and at least one is setting down more permanent roots. Blotto — which began in July 2020 as a small operation working out of Broadway Alley — has secured a fixed location. This spring, it plans to open a restaurant and small market in the space formerly occupied by Chungee’s.
Despite plenty of competition in the Seattle pizza scene, Blotto has quickly gained a following for its thin crust New York and Neapolitan-style pies with naturally leavened sourdough that co-founders Jordan Koplowitz and Cal Hoffmann have been attempting to perfect in gas-powered deck ovens. Blotto’s vodka sauce-based pie has been a hit, along with a hot honey, radicchio, and pancetta-topped offering. The pop-up also touts the use of ingredients from local farms, such as sausage from Olsen Farms, cheese from Samish Bay Creamery, and grains from Skagit Valley. While the menu at the new spot will rotate often with seasonal items, Blotto hopes to establish a consistency in quality above all else.
“We’re trying to create something that is crispy and has a nice crunch to it, but still has like a nice puffy outer crust rim and has like a little bit more nuanced toppings to it rather than just cheese and pepperoni,” says Koplowitz.
The Blotto guys are both big pizza aficionados who met through a mutual friend in 2015 and reconnected in 2020 while participating in last summer’s protests, recognizing each other through their masks on the street. A designer by trade, Koplowitz was out of work due to the pandemic, and Hoffmann had relocated to Seattle after years of cooking professionally in LA and Italy.
Shortly after Koplowitz launched a short-run printed recipe zine to raise money for Seattle BIPOC Organic Food Bank, he and Hoffmann found a small commercial kitchen in a Greek wholesale bakery to tinker with their pies. They soon drew long lines and some critical attention for Blotto’s weekly pop-ups, which, over the past few months, have sold out within one or two hours. When the opportunity to open their own location in the neighborhood arose, the co-owners jumped on it (the pop-up is on hold in the meantime). “It had always been a dream of both of ours to carve out our own little space in a community and have a small locally-sourced grocer,” says Koplowitz.
When it opens, Blotto will be working out of a slightly bigger, yet still cozy space (about 800 square feet), and will start with takeout only. In addition to pizza, there will be a selection of salads, cold sides, beer, wine, and pantry items. Hoffmann says the goal is to make the place less of a traditional pizzeria and more of a corner store that “has an open secret” of serving great East Coast-influenced slices.
“Every spot in town, of course, wants their products to be the best it can be,” he says. “But there are also places where you can feel how excited the owners or chefs really are about what they’re making. And so we’re looking to apply that level of kind of nerdiness and persistence and excitement about our pizza.”
- Blotto [Official]
- For Pop-up Pizza — and a Recipe Zine — Get Blotto on Broadway [Capitol Hill Seattle]
- Your Key to Seattle’s Secret Pizza Scene [The Seattle Times]