Before the coronavirus shutting down the world, we were outside Hotel Erwin at the brand new Venice Way Pizza savoring a beer and a slab. Instead of pizza by the slice, take out a pizza slab made from local ingredients and focaccia-like dough from the hotel’s streetside window. We can thank Noel Brohner aka Dough Man for perfecting the recipe by experimenting and changing one aspect over 500 times. From flour and mix time to fermentation time, the master cultivated this California pizza style that he likes to call Pizza Bianca a la California or Pizza Bianca a la Venice.
Formerly employed by Disney and some other moguls in town, Noel also helped open up LA’s beloved Bestia (with Ori Menashe) and has fine-tuned bread programs for Republique, Felix, and Antico. Noel is an APN (Associazione Pizzaioli Napoletani) USA Certified Pizzaiolo, the founder of Slow Rise Pizza Co. and a 30 plus year restaurant veteran. Get up close with him to learn his secrets from one of his Pizza 3 Ways classes on AirBnB Experiences.
After 2 slabs of this insanely good pizza, you will be stuffed. Crunchy on the bottom, light and airy in the center, and caramelized and golden on top, this pizza is unlike any pizza we’ve tried before and certainly not like crisp thin east coast style where I am from.
This new local Venice Way pizza slab invention is inspired by a variety of pan pizza traditions – Detroit-style with its uber crunchy base, Roman Pizza Al Taglo with its light and airy crumb crust, and Sicilian Focaccia with its flavorful but simple appeal.
The secret to the dough is “high hydration” which uses equal parts flour and water to make the house dough that is incomparably light and airy. A three-to-four-day extra-slow fermentation process ensures a flavorful dough reminiscent of sourdough with a deliciously sweet aroma.
“We noticed a void of great slices in the neighborhood,” said General Manager Derek Haug. “When we found out that ‘pizza guy’ Noel Brohner lived just a few blocks away, we immediately collaborated to design a dough and crust to complement our neighborhood slice shop with a style that L.A. and Venice have been missing.”
Cut from their 15×15 custom inch pans, we suggest finding room in your belly for the basic cheese, the pepperoni, and the Italian green olive cauliflower pizza slab. The Venice Way is their daily specialty pizza. Besides grabbing a slab at the window for around $5, beer and wine will be served at the cafe (bottom floor of Hotel Erwin adjacent to the lobby) and soon when the world is giddy once again with dining out, flights of pizza will be a perfect late-night snack or post-beach day gnosh.
This neighborhood artisanal slice shop will sling slices from lunch till late 7 days a week. We can’t wait for the world to buzz again, to hug again, to delight in a slab o’ pizza again.
Venice Way Pizza
at Hotel Erwin
1697 Pacific Ave
Venice, CA 90291