THE INDEPENDENT PIZZA COMPANY
28 Lower Drumcondra Road
Phone: 01 830 2044
The Independent Pizza Company and I go back a long time, right back to when this destination pizzeria opened for the first time (just up the road), in 1984. Drumcondra, even today, is no Ranelagh but back then it was suburb that was a stranger to culinary delights. I think there was a fried chicken takeaway and a half-decent chipper.
People think that the name came from the famous nearby railway bridge which always carried an ad for a certain newspaper. I prefer to think that it was not so much this northside landmark as a state of mind.
David Barry came along with a very brave and independent approach to pizza. People came from all over Dublin to taste what was – by a country mile, so to speak - the best pizza in Dublin. I usually didn’t have far to travel as my parents lived up the road. The Summer of 1984, which saw the Independent Pizza Company burst upon a sleepy Dublin, was also the year in which I got married.
In the weeks before that momentous event I recall eating pizzas there on an almost daily basis; and I remember bringing one all the way back to my dingy dwelling in the foothills of the Dublin mountains. After a few moments in a hot oven, it was as good as new.
You see, a lot of people won’t understand how revolutionary the Independent Pizza Company was over thirty years ago. Before I ate there, the only authentic pizza I’d had was in Italy or the United States. Oh, yes, Ireland did pizza, but in much the same way as Dick Van Dyke did a Cockney accent.
The secret was simple but, in those days brave. David and his team used just flour, water, yeast, salt and a touch of sugar to get the ferment going. And they made the dough fresh every day. And then they cooked it, as they still do, in the kind of oven that gives the right balance of top and bottom heat to crisp the base – this is American style pizza – and melt the toppings. This was a new one for Ireland.
In the meantime, they have expanded the menu and acquired a Woodstone oven, a brilliant piece of traditional and high-tech design that allows you to cook perfect pizza and a host of other things in the distinctive way that the intense dry heat such ovens can achieve.
That means pulled pork, outstanding chicken wings (supplied, incidentally, by the estimable Kettyle Foods of Fermanagh, better known for their legendary beef), smokily roasted prawns and what have you. They even make soup every day. Provenance is regarded as important and duly stated, plus they do real beer from my local craft brewery, Eight Degrees in Mitchelstown.
As if this is not enough, they stay open until midnight when there’s a match or a concert in Croke Park and they have an exceptionally good value early bird.