Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

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The New York Times bestseller from the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette about opening a restaurant with her new husband: “You’ll feel the warmth from this pizza oven...cheerfully honest...warm and inclusive, just like her cooking” (USA TODAY).

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey explores that intimate territory where food and life meet. This moving and honest account of two people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together is “a crave-worthy memoir that is part love story, part restaurant industry tale. Scrumptious” (People).

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: When Orangette blogger and Bon Appétit columnist Molly Wizenberg emerged from the whirlwind of publishing her best-selling debut memoir, A Homemade Life, she was shocked to realize that her new husband Brandon’s latest ambitious/crazy scheme was coming to pass: with scant restaurant experience, he was opening a Brooklyn-style wood-fire pizza place in their Seattle neighborhood. Brandon and the restaurant were on the move, and she could give into their momentum or risk an unraveling marriage. In Delancey: A Man, A Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, we get Wizenberg's hilariously unvarnished, poignant account of how she found her place in their new life, and what it took both of them them--as well as the friends, relatives, and strangers-turned-friends who rallied to their aid--to transform an empty space into a community that feeds them, plus an expectant crowd that often snakes down the block (and occasionally feels like a zombie horde). If you have gauzy dreams of opening your own little place, you’ll glean essential lessons, like that you should really reconsider. But any fan of great food (especially pizza) will find much to love, including recipes for the meals they most enjoyed in the Delancey-opening era--food and cocktails that are improvisational, delicious, made memorable by time spent with excellent friends. Wizenberg finished her manuscript when she was 37-weeks pregnant with their daughter, June--“the heart of the pizza party”--and just as they opened bar-next-door Essex, events that we think call for another memoir. --Mari Malcolm