The Baker’s Table Bakery hosts pizza throwdowns

Pizza is almost always great comfort food, but what if some of the best chefs in town applied their signature styles to it?

That’s the idea behind a series of pizza throwdowns happening at The Baker’s Table Bakery in Newport.

Chef Dave Willocks of The Baker’s Table has asked some of the top culinary wizards in town to join him in three Wednesday evenings of pizza gastronomy at the Newport shop. The monthly series will feature local chefs who will introduce their take on The Baker’s Table Bakery’s signature pizza style.

The collaborations kicked off on Wednesday, March 30, with Willocks and OTR Chili’s Jim Cornwell. OTR Chili, on Elm Street next to Rhinegeist in Over-the-Rhine, is a Cincinnati-style chili parlor with burgers and fries as well as three-, four-, and five-ways. The two chefs conspired to create an OTR-chili-inspired pizza incorporating chili made from seared, high-quality beef, with cheese and onions.
Next up will be Vanessa Miller, executive chef at the upscale 21c Metropole restaurant in downtown Cincinnati. On Wednesday, April 20, she’s planning to incorporate seasonal ingredients including asparagus and ramps into her pizza creation, as well as the Baker’s Table’s house-made ricotta.

The final collaboration is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 with Chef Anthony Sitek. Sitek is chef and owner at Crown Restaurant Group which includes Crown Republic Gastropub at Seventh and Sycamore downtown, Rosie’s Cocktails & Pies on Seventh Street downtown, La Cantina on East Eighth Street, and Losanti, a steakhouse in Over-the-Rhine. Sitek is planning to craft a chicken parmesan pizza with caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella, and arugula from Dark Wood Farm in Boone County.

Willocks and his wife, Wendy Braun, opened The Baker’s Table in December of 2018 inspired by a 25-year-old, hand-built baker’s table. Willocks says his culinary vision draws from his experience cooking in the San Francisco area, where he worked with rotating menus using products from the area’s farmer’s markets. The restaurant applies farm-to-table principles and offers a seasonally-rotating, prix-fixe dinner menu.

The bakery opened in October of 2021, and uses the same sustainable principles as The Baker’s Table. Its breads, pastries, and pizzas are made with whole grain, stoneground, organically-produced flour from Janie’s Mill in Ashkum, Ill., which is then incorporated into the bakery’s sourdough starter. All of its fruits, vegetables, and meats are sourced from local farmers who apply principles of sustainability to their products.

No reservations are needed for the Wednesday night pizza collaborations.

The bakery is located at 1001 Monmouth St., Newport, across the street from its sister restaurant, The Baker’s Table, and hours for pizza Wednesdays are 4:30 PM to 9 PM.

Regular hours are from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.