Salt of the Earth: Wild Pies

By Laura Silverman

Two words you might not expect to find conjoined are “forage” and “pizza.” But it turns out they’re a delicious combo as brought to life by the Forestburgh pizza joint that goes by that name. This hole-in-the-wall spot, situated along a state highway in a sparsely populated, densely wooded hamlet, is little more than an 8,000-pound handmade Italian wood-burning oven and the well-honed craft of chef-owner Anthony Marušić.

Anton, as he’s known, grew up visiting his Croatian grandfather in nearby Cuddebackville, where the family still owns a rustic hunting lodge nestled on the former grounds of the Rockaway Hunting Club. There he learned to hunt, forage, and cook over fire alongside his father and grandfather. These skills were further refined during his study of regional cuisine in Italy’s Piedmont region and, back in New York, working downtown at Lupa and Boqueria. Ultimately, it was a stint cooking Neapolitanstyle pizza under the tutelage of Whitney Aycock at Whit’s End in Rockaway, Queens, that condensed all of Anton’s passions into a single vision.

He began prepping to open his own place about six months before the pandemic hit—digging out the foundation, redoing the floors and plumbing. He built the bar from wood downed during Hurricane Sandy. All the food is lovingly handmade, too, from the farm stand salad and garlic knots to that pizza. The beautifully singed, thin-crust pies he’s been turning out since last June have no shortage of fans, who stay warm huddled around a little fire he keeps burning outside the door. Since it’s takeout only at this point, Anton urges all his customers to eat a slice before they go and instructs them not to close the boxes on the way home. Luckily, a quick blast at 500.F in your home oven is all that’s needed to restore these pies to perfection.

Farms, Woods, and Craft. A veteran of Lupa in Manhattan, Chef Marušić pulls ingredients from local farms and woods—ramps, black trumpet mushrooms, bitter greens—plus, he cures his own bacon and prosciutto.

Topped with the best from local farms and whatever’s fresh from the woods—ramps, black trumpet mushrooms, bitter greens—plus house-cured bacon and Croatian-style prosciutto, Anton’s pizzas are infused with European technique but deeply rooted in Sullivan County. This is food worth traveling for.

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