Bruciato goes from pop-up to full-blown pizzeria
Now, with an upscale restaurant, two delis, a vegetarian lunch cafe he opened in 2016 called Verjus, and a recently announced third lunch location (in Downtown Seattle), McGill has finally opened a pizzeria.
After months of stops and starts, the permitting process concluded and he got the go-ahead from the city to turn Bruciato into a fully functioning pizza restaurant with Italian dishes made from locally grown ingredients, in the heart of Bainbridge.
The building is known on the island as The Old Hardware Store. It's been passed around in recent years, with a furnishing store taking hold, then a purchase by a controversial coffee shop, and most recently being put in the hands of a new owner, Jack Lacko, who promised to maintain the bones of the building. McGill gushes about the rafters and ceilings when he describes the 6,000sqft building, of which Bruciato is renting one-third of.
Experienced Seattle pizzaiolo Brandon Thompson is stepping up as the master of the Stefano Ferrara oven, which is made in Naples -- and which McGill calls "the golden standard." But it won't be just pies on the table; the menu also includes Southern Italian small plates, antipasti, and "stuff that's fun to eat with your pizza," McGill says, referring to some seafood cameos like clams and octopus. A dozen pizzas are in rotation, with seasonal produce and charcuterie from McGill's pigs showing up across the menu. If you're familiar with McGill's other institutions, you certainly won't be disappointed by this one.
Each time the chef opens something new, he handles everything from overseeing design and managing permits to driving a flatbed across town to pick up a deli case. And that won't change, no matter how many more properties he adds to his kingdom.
"Sometimes I think my multitasking management is a function of insecurity. As if every part of the process is so dependent on me," he muses. "But I really only know one way to do this, and that's my way. My only attempt at a restaurant partnership lasted about three months. So, I listen to the team, put authenticity first, and go with my gut."