Q & A with Jay Langfelder of Jay's Artisan Pizza
A poet of pizza
Langfelder has made hundreds of thousands of pizzas in his career.
Photo of Jay by kc kratt; pizza photo by Eric Frick
Years in the business:
Jay Langfelder, owner of Jay’s Artisan Pizzeria on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, has wanted to own a pizza shop for a long as he can remember. He estimates the number of pizzas he’s made throughout his thirty-four years to be “certainly somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.” Prior to opening the restaurant, Langfelder operated the O.G. Wood Fire Pizza Truck and has received national coverage in trade publications, made the Daily Meal’s 101 Best Pizzas in America for 2018, and snagged Spree Best Of Awards for Best Thin Crust Pizza (Northtowns) in 2018 and 2019.
Favorite non-pizza food to prepare?
Tacos, for sure
Best thing you ever ate?
That’s a tough one. A recent meal at Wildair NYC with the crew was memorable.
Do you ever miss the food truck?
I can give a definitive “no” on that one. I had some great memories operating a food truck, but it’s certainly tough dealing with the weather in Buffalo. Working with dough, a living thing, is especially challenging through the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter. There are some serious limitations when it comes to food trucking in Buffalo. Regardless, I think it’s a great way for those who are passionate about food to get started.
Any tips for first-timers trying your pizza?
Eat it at the restaurant. Cheese and pepperoni isn’t on the menu. Try something new; we are happy to recommend something that fits your tastes.
Has there been a surprise hit at the restaurant?
Our Nduja pizza was a slow mover until it made the Daily Meal. We knew we had a good one, so we kept it on the menu for a bit longer than we typically would. After it was written about, it exploded and is now one of our more popular pizzas.
What does WNY’s restaurant scene need right now?
More places that specialize in one type of cuisine and really nail it.
Does education make a difference or can great chefs be self-taught?
I am a firm believer that if you are passionate about a type of food, you can learn how to make it at a high level.
Tool or utensil you can’t live without?
Turning peel or banjo peel
Food you’ll never say no to?
Best food city?
Pound for pound, Charleston, South Carolina, is pretty amazing.
What do you wish your customers knew about your pizza?
The Neapolitan is so much better if it never goes in a steamy cardboard box. It really has to be eaten within minutes of leaving the oven in order to capture what Neapolitan pizza is all about.
Favorite Buffalo restaurants?
I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t gotten too far from my house, but I’m a big fan of Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs, The Dapper Goose, and The Little Club.
What food trend excites you? Which one are you sick of?
I love all the plant-based food trends going on. I’ve had enough of 100-plus seat megarestaurants doing huge menus and subpar food.
If you weren’t a pizzaiolo, what would you be doing instead?
I can’t imagine being in any other industry. If it weren’t pizza, it would be something else with food.