One of the first customers at the new Federal Pizza, now open in a historic building on Central: Nancy Beadle, the widow of famous architect Al Beadle, who designed the building where pizza is now being served. Nancy stopped by to scope the place out and the staff ran out to greet her once she gave up her name, said Federal co-owner Craig DeMarco. She told DeMarco she was excited, but he said he and his staff were more awestruck than she.
Those Beadles – kind of a big deal.
Also a big deal in Phoenix right now: finding adaptive use for important, historic buildings instead of tearing them down. Federal used to be a bank, hence the name. The owners are dedicated to finding new uses for old things. (These are the genies behind Postino and Windsor, as well.) And now let’s talk about the pizza, which has brussels sprouts on top, and is fantastic.
I’ll tell you right now: this year’s trendy food thing is brussels sprouts. They’re everywhere. And toasted marshmallow, too, which is also on the menu at Federal Pizza,but we’ll come back to that.
On day one, the Federal Pizza room was crowded, even before 7 p.m.
The place has a sweet midcentury swank working on its behalf: vintage lamps, orange booths, collected melamine teacups, and vintage salt and pepper shakers. And all that fantastic Beadle architecture to admire. (Notice the clerestory windows and the pillars they connect to, over which I marveled all night.)
I was very impressed by this mural painted by a local artist. It looks like quotation marks, which any journalist especially loves. Restaurants by Craig and Kris DeMarco and Lauren and Wyatt Bailey are always visual feasts.
I could spend many happy hours on this patio — thankfully, it’s in my hood.
Food: all of the pizzas were created by MJ Coe, master of MJ Bread and husband of Tammie Coe. The crust tastes like MJ, which means good. We inhaled those brussels sprouts, and the corn coins coated in fennel, herbs, and pecorino cheese.
They even serve wine coolers in mini bottles — flavors like grapefruit ginger and strawberry rhubarb.
And, of course, toasted marshmallow for dessert. This time, it’s on top of chocolate pudding and an Oreo crust. And it comes in a Mason jar, of course.
Federal Pizza is at 5210 N. Central in Phoenix. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. 602-795-2520.