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Crust & Craft

/ Updated on December 29, 2015
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That little storefront on the far right end of Midway Galleria (next to Panera Bread) has seen its share of pizza joints. While this Midway pizza shuffle was going on, a young Brenton Wallace was toiling away at Zavino wine bar and pizzeria in Philadelphia. Sometime around mid-2012, he set up shop in Nage’s market concept, Root Gourmet (now Nage Pantry) in Shore Plaza. After a short stint next door at mothership Nage, Wallace proceeded to help Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats revamp and improve their menu on Rehoboth Avenue.

Brenton took the plunge to open his own place: A pizza and craft beer joint in that little spot in Midway Galleria. Monday-morning quarterbacks voiced concern about the location: “But it’s pizza,” they whined. Didn’t matter. Wallace was going for it. Several months of hard work came to fruition toward the end of summer 2015 when patrons realized that this was unlike other pizza places that had occupied that space. Wallace’s 13″ rounds are reminiscent of pizza napolitana, a wheat-flour dough topped with red sauce and mozzarella cheese. But Crust & Craft’s pizza picks up where some others leave off: Starting with the Rosa (crushed San Marzanos, sliced garlic and fresh oregano), customers can select from a long list of unusual toppings, including long hots (an Italian pepper with a moderate kick), squash, jalapenos, arugula, bacon, a wonderfully runny egg, fontina cheese, roasted mushrooms, pistachio pesto … 21 in all. Each pizza sports a lightly charred and puffy crust, the appropriate finish of the imported wood-burning brick oven assembled by Marra Forni, a family-owned company in Greenbelt, Maryland.

It’s important to realize that a wood-fired pizza will have little area of charred goodness. It’s the nature of the beast: The intense heat bubbles the crust up, and the tops of those little bubbles, being closer to the hottest part of the oven, will get a slight, but crispy char. Yes, it is easy to actually burn a pizza in a wood-fired oven – the heat is intense, is only radiated from one side, and the pizzas must be tended to during the entire process. But unless the entire crust is actually burnt to a bitter crackle, little areas of char are part of the experience. As of my last visit, the pizza guys were still getting the hang of that oven, and hopefully they have it down by now.

And yes, the pizzas, when properly done, are tasty. Award-winning chef/owner Hari Cameron of a(MUSE.) loves the simple and unadorned Rosa. Cape Gazette Editor-in-Chief Trish Vernon and DSM Commercial Realtor Brittany Danahy both swear by the Ovo (bacon, brussel sprouts and that custardy egg). Yours truly had more than one slice of the Finocchiona (spicy sausage, fennel, long hots and crushed tomatoes). Finocchiona is a Tuscan salami laced with fennel. And I will go back for more.

But the sleepers at Crust & Craft are the appetizers/small plates. Divided into three categories, the Hearth list contained such delights as braised calamari and roasted squash with pumpkin seeds. The Ocean section offers a delicious combination of fennel sausage and mussels; littlenecks with beans and ham broth, and one of the most delicious treatments of wood-roasted octopus I have had locally. Beneath the Earth heading there are beets with ricotta and greens; brussel sprouts with apples, blue cheese and balsamic, along with several other tasty combinations. RehobothFoodie pick hits: The octopus (slightly charred and delightfully savory), the fennel sausage and mussels, and all of the salads.

Wallace is keeping that oven running at full tilt, cranking out wood-roasted vegetables, meats and fish along with homemade breads. The menu also includes house-made pastas such as rigatoni, buccatini, and pasta e zuccha redolent of pumpkin. Listen to the specials list: some creative bites might be in there.

The bright and friendly bar greets you as soon as you enter, and lucky barflies get to watch the kitchen crew coax pies and cast-iron dishes in and out of that glowing domed oven. In addition to the kitchen floor show, the bar also offers 6 drafts, hand-pumped beer casks and around 20 bottles and cans. GM Wesley Book (formerly of Abbott’s Grill in Laurel) brings a wealth of experience to the austere, almost industrial-looking eatery.

So give Crust & Craft a try. Go for the pizza and beer, but stay for the sides, appetizers and small plates. At the moment they are open 11-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner. Give them a call at (302) 313-5029.

Follow Crust & Craft on Facebook.

The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. demattman says:

    On a cold and snowy night, we were warmly greeted by bartender Palma who waited on us thorough out our happy hour and was very attentive to our requests. We enjoyed a Queen pizza which was delicious and came out piping hot. The mussels with fennel sausage was sopped up with homemade Italian bread that accompanied the app, it was amazing! The Dogfish Pilsner Ale made me happy. We took home the Ovo pizza which was delicious It was the perfect balance of bacon, Brussel sprouts, fontina, egg and thyme. Thanks Brenton…

  2. Anthony says:

    We ordered a simple margherita pie. Toppings were very skimpy (a few tossed on basil leaves and discs of mozzarella). Cheese wasn’t melted and slipped off the slices while eating. Very disappointed…

  3. Darren says:

    My wife and I have been here a few times including early when the opened and several times since. Wood fired pizza has a unique flavor and it not for everyone but we enjoy the taste. We have seen a few mishaps with the cooks working the oven and it really does matter who is minding the pizza as it cooks. Agreed that the photo here (especially the Finocchiona) does not look anything like it does in the pub, it would be better if it did. Toppings are a little light especially at $2.00 per additional. We like the quaint atmosphere and friendly people.

  4. Barbara says:

    Been once, pizza comes out FAST. I had the mussells and a bite of hubbys pizza. I think the pizza was better at Half Full but the seating and parking are more convenient here. I recognized a lot of the servers and they all seemed up beat and happy. Wine list not bad. Will return.

  5. fightingbluehen says:

    Pizza was pretty good, liked the char. Aside from the pizza, they are working in sort of narrow rustic style range with a Kevin Reading flair. Somewhat heavy with wintery type dishes that are OK if you are specifically in the mood for that, but definitely won’t fly in the summer time.

    We started with some really good ricotta cheese with some toasted bread, and the calamari. I must say that I wasn’t a fan of the potatoes and red sauce with the calamari…. again I can’t imagine people enjoying that in the summer.

    I ordered the octopus, which by the way was grilled to perfection and very tender. Too bad that it was served as a heavy dish with ,again the potatoes….works a bit in winter, don’t think it will be popular in summer months.

    Word of advice concerning the olives. Either serve pitted olives in the dish or un-pitted olives, but not both.

  6. Carole and Bill Carole and Bill says:

    My husband and I love wood-fired pizza! We like Touch of Italy and Mr. Ps, and we know about the little charred areas you describe as part of the wood-oven experience. But our last three visits to Crust and Craft have resulted in very burned pizzas – a bitter char all around the crust. These pizzas look nothing like the photos on your website, and in fact we have seen these burned pizzas on the restaurant’s facebook page. Is this really what the owner wants to put out to the public…..

  7. Char says:

    Hubby and I went for lunch on a Friday and were not really impressed. The pizzas (we ordered two different ones) were very skimpy on toppings. The crust was burned and had a horrible burnt flavor. We ordered the ricotta bruschetta and the bread was so hard, it’s a wonder we didn’t break a tooth. We received 5 cut up pieces of bread – so where did the 6th piece go? It wasn’t good enough for us to even consider going back. Kinda boring.

  8. BobNMike says:

    We loved the Small plates. The octopus was very flavorful. Littlenecks and beans were delicious too. We will definitely be back to try more of the creative small plates. Appreciate the sneak peak on this one or we likely would have missed it as we don’t generally eat pizza. Thanks!

  9. Shirley Edwards says:

    I went there for lunch yesterday and had the 12″ Bianco pizza. It was very good, but the toppings were skimpy. Increase the toppings a little and the pizza would have been excellent. I enjoyed the atmosphere and found the decor attractive and inviting. The staff were friendly and attentive. I’ll go back.

  10. Barb Passikoff says:

    I like having a salad before dinner. Three salads on menu, not one of them a simple side salad or wedge. Each of the three were so different that I left never ordering anything else. How about something like a simple green salad with entree or pizza. Disappointed!

  11. Joe Iaquinto says:

    Was looking forward to trying pizza at Crust and Craft. My wife and I were there Sunday afternoon. We each tried a local draft beer which was good and we both had a 12″ pizza. The draft beer was over priced for a local brew. The pizza was very tasty but the toppings were very light. You don’t need to smoother the crust but I think you should be able to taste your topping in every bite. Will I go back? Maybe! Just because of the taste of my pizza. Won’t be going there for a draft that’s for sure.

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