Flatbreads Rising

Flatbreads are just pizzas by another name, and they're very well liked.

The Sticky Pork Belly Flatbread, topped with gochujang, carrots, cilantro and mozzarella, is a special this month at The Office Tavern Grill.
Photo courtesy of The Office Tavern Grill.

Everyone loves pizza, no one has a patent on it, and chefs like to be creative with it. Result? Flatbreads, rectangular or oblong, thin and crispy, have cropped up on many restaurant menus.

“They’re an offshoot of pizza, with a lot more combinations on top,” says Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association. “They’re very popular.”

“We look at flatbreads as opening us up to more ingredients,” says Kevin Felice, corporate executive chef of 40North Restaurant Group, which includes the Office Tavern Grills in Summit, Morristown and Ridgewood. “We have a crab-and-avocado one in Morristown, a chicken-gyro flatbread in Ridgewood. I think people began seeing the artistry you could put into them as compared with a mom-and-pop pizza joint, and restaurants ran with it.”

Plank Pizza in Saddle Brook, despite its name, is all about flatbreads. “It’s the main attraction on our menu,” says co-owner Andrew Demicco. “You can get them with barbecue pulled pork on top, or mac and cheese, or almost anything you want. We’ve brought traditional pizza into the tapas realm.”

Speaking of tapas, Juan Placencia, chef/owner of Costanera in Montclair, is about to open a Latin American and Spanish place in North Arlington featuring flatbreads with toppings like chorizo, Spanish ham, and the Cuban shredded beef stew called ropa vieja. Agricola in Princeton has featured flatbreads since it opened in 2013. “We have an open kitchen, and people are always fascinated to watch us make the flatbreads,” says chef Mitresh Saraiya. “People love them. I think they’re here to stay.”

More places to find flatbreads: 3 West in Basking Ridge; Famished Frog in Morristown; Òrale in Jersey City; Stone Water in Lake Hopatcong; and The Pour House in Westmont.

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