Behind Aziza's on Main ( 2110 E. Main St., 344-1523 ), work is more than half finished on a 550-square-foot addition that will house a wood-fired brick oven and the hub of a retail-and-wholesale bread bakery and pizzeria.
"I wanted good bread before, so I had to make it. Now I want good pizza, so I'll have to make it," Billy Fallen says, half-joking.
Aziza's will add pizza to the menu in late April or early May, when the new bakery is finished. The Shockoe Bottom restaurant also plans to expand its hours to serve dinner seven nights a week, Fallen says. (Aziza's is currently open for lunch or brunch every day and dinner Thursday through Saturday.)
The pizza will be Neapolitan-style, baked for less than two minutes, with thin crusts and mozzarella made from fresh cow's milk and Buffalo milk.
While it won't seek official Italian-government-granted D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status, Fallen — poking a bit of fun at those who take such things too seriously — intends to institute his own mark of quality: R.G.P. (for Really Good Pizza). "I think a lot of people put emphasis on brand and recognition," he says. "I put more emphasis on quality."
The bakery, connected to the main restaurant by two doors at the back, also will include a butcher's-block table that will be available for two seatings per night for a set price. (That's still being determined, but Fallen says it will be in keeping with Aziza's menu.)
"A lot of restaurants have a chef's table. It's going to be a baker's table, and we'll feed you," he says. Along with regular entrées and pizza, the baker's-table menu will include some specials, such as whole fish prepared Mediterranean style. "It will be in the room with the oven. You'll be able to see us using the oven while you're eating."
Besides serving the adjoining restaurant, the bakery will market Aziza's multigrain sourdough bread and frozen pizzas to grocery stores and natural-food markets in the Richmond area, Williamsburg and Charlottesville. Fallen also has been getting queries about his bread from farmers' markets in all three cities.
In the meantime, he's been experimenting with dough, cooking his pizzas on a grill or in the oven. Fallen promises, "It's going to be very authentic."