A Dopo Pizzeria Set to Open Next Week

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

When last I checked in with Brian Strutz, he planned to open A Dopo pizzeria, his sourdough, wood fired pizza restaurant at 516 Williams Street in August. He missed the mark by a few weeks, as is virtually always the case for new businesses. While nothing went horribly wrong, there were hiccups along the way, like the day the oven arrived and amid all the excitement, the discovery was made that it would not fit through one window as they had hoped. Three removed windows later it was placed inside the restaurant. The bigger picture is that Brian has found many, many people to be helpful as he prepared to open, from understanding landlords to helpful inspectors.

Tabletops by Fork Design, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Tabletops by Fork Design, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Marble Counter Top by Paulk and Co., A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Geometric Light Fixture, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

The transformation to the space is spectacular. While retaining the industrial feel of the former paint store, the place has become quite beautiful. And it is very rooted in its neighborhood. The white oak, oil-finished tables were built by Forrest Kirkpatrick at Fork Design, which is located in the same building, just around the corner. Local artist Johnson Giles painted the sign on the front of the building. The prep table in the kitchen was donated by Dustin Busby with whom Brian worked for two years at Blackberry Farm after his return from Italy. Richard Foster of the Lewis Group drew the plans and Jim Hickman served as project manager.

The concrete counter tops, marble dough station and the greeting host/hostess station were built by Justin Paulk at Paulk and Company just next door. A geometric light fixture hangs in the center of the room as a tip of the hat to Brian’s friend and hair stylist Jeremy Wann at Geo Hair Lab whose business is visible directly through the fixture from the kitchen. The floors were sealed and finished, but Brian made the decision to leave the paint splatters on the floor as a reminder of the building’s roots.

Marble Counter Top by Paulk and Co., A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Marble Counter Top by Paulk and Co., A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Marble Counter Top by Paulk and Co., A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Marble Counter Top by Paulk and Co., A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

He plans to carry the thoughtful approach through to the food he serves. Beer and wine will be served on tap, while each are also available by the bottle. Brian found kegs for both which are collapsible and recyclable. All wine will be Italian wines which pair well with food – and he hopes you’ll find some vintners and varietals you’ve not tried before. Selections were guided by Amanda Lovingood, a level two sommelier who attempted to keep bottles under $30, with less mark-up than you might expect at a restaurant. You’ll find local craft beer from Last Days of Autumn and Blackberry Farm, as well as Yee Haw from Johnson City. Both sparkling and filtered water will be available for no charge.

Brian Strutz, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Brian Strutz, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Sparkling and Filtered Water, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Sparkling and Filtered Water, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

The sourdough pizza will be wood-fired with four selections each featuring red sauce and white sauce, with “extras” to personalize your meal. Additionally, four vegetarian pizzas are available, as well as cheese and meat plates. The meal may be topped off with four flavors of house-made gelato. The espresso flavor will be a staple, with espresso provided by Remedy coffee which is just a couple of blocks away. You’ll also find pistachio (made from scratch) and two seasonal flavors. I sample the espresso gelato and loved it. The menu as pictured here is “95%” settled.

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

The restaurant will have seating for approximately forty, with two communal tables and several single tables in the center of the room. At least initially dinner service will be provided and a host will seat patrons. As the web site says, you may find yourself, “seated next to another wonderful person like yourself.” You’ll be served by a dedicated, carefully chosen staff who Brian says have been empowered to make certain customers have an excellent experience.

Kegerator for Wine and Beer, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

Kegerator for Wine and Beer, A Dopo Pizzeria, 516 Williams St., Knoxville, September 2016

An event for family will be held this Thursday night with soft opening Saturday and Sunday with two seatings each night – all of which are now filled. The restaurant will officially open Thursday, October 6, with the regular schedule of 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday beginning at that time. The restaurant will be closed on Mondays. Brian said he is committed to staying open later when events are held at the Mill and Mine or the Sanctuary and he’ll respond to customer preferences for hours in coming months.

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There will be no reservations and customers are welcome to drop in. If you’d like to avoid a wait, there’s an app for that: Nowait, which allows people to get in line remotely and sends a text when the table is ready. So, you can get in line from anywhere within twenty miles, or you can get in line on Nowait, park and walk over to Public House or Crafty Bastard to enjoy a beverage while you wait.

Comments

  1. Fantastic!

  2. I notice that The Sanctuary was referenced in this article, with the owner saying that they would stay open later when events were held there. I was wondering if you could speak a bit more to this.

    I remember people being excited about the possibility of it becoming a music venue down the road. Then it was used for one (long) performance during Big Ears. But I haven’t heard anything since. Is there any news about it becoming a full-time music venue down the road? Or is this still just speculation?

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      I don’t have any further information about it. When I do . . . well, you know what I’ll do. 🙂

  3. A Dopo looks great, and the menu is tempting. But, any chance that a gluten-free pizza crust option will be offered??

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      He’s worked on it, but so far hasn’t been happy with the results, so at this point, no. He says the difficulty is making the crust stick together with no gluten involved (if I understood his answer correctly).

      • That’s the gist. I would add that the extremely high temperature of the oven requires a highly hydrated dough. This is nearly impossible to accomplish without gluten because the dough becomes an unmanageable mess

        • Maybe Kymberle at the Breadshed could provide some insight into GF dough, as she has some of the best GF bread in town! (I’ll also add that adding cheese into the crust helps with moisture & keeps it together.)

  4. Will they ever open for lunch hours, do you think? That would be great.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says:

      He said it is possible, but it would mean hiring several more people and he isn’t convinced the area is ready for a lunch spot, just yet. That said, he said he may start having lunch-to-go, which would be a bit easier to accomplish.

  5. I don’t see an upside for restaurants in taking reservations. Best case scenario, whoever made them actually shows up. It’s not like reservations get you any more business, and in the case of no-shows, they might cost you some.

    Looking forward to A Dopo!

  6. Yahoo! As a SF based company, this speaks to us on several planes! Plus, we are a stone’s throw away! Careful, you might just grow tired of us…. LOCAL….PIZZA….SOURDOUGH….Oh My!! Foodies unite! Welcome to the neighborhood!

  7. Welcome to the neighborhood! So excited to have you here. We will support you and gladly send people your way!
    Gina @ POP Weasel

  8. “Also, what is restaurants’ hangup with allowing reservations.” I have asked a few restaurant owners and managers about this very thing. Apparently more and more people are not honoring their reservations and not calling to cancel. As you can imagine, this causes major problems with tables staying empty for nonexistent patrons. It is yet another reminder of some unfortunate trends such as the increasing number of folks who ignore requests to RSVP and just show up at events.

    • Chris Eaker says:

      This lack of appreciation of other people’s time is also a disturbing trend, but it seems that there could be safeguards in place, like a 10-minute limit then your table is given to a walk-up customer. Or even holding a table with a CC and you’re charged a fee if you don’t show up. I guess if they really wanted to make it work, they could, but it’s just easier to issue a blanket “no” for reservations.

      • Hey Chris!
        Good question. I would echo what has already been said but add that a reservation system can be quite costly. Yes, no-shows cost us money, but online reservation programs (for example) charge up to $2 per reservation -not to mention the staffing costs become greater. You can see how quickly that would add up.

        At the end of the day though, there are just way too many decisions to make when opening a business like this. The regulations, design, construction, hiring, menu planning, inventory controls, tax planning, system building, marketing, budgeting, scheduling…SO much more – it’s all quite unbelievable. I wish everyone could experience this as do most people with their own careers I presume.

        There is a fatigue that can set in (for me at least) going through this process. When that happens I look at those things that make us more efficient. And seeing as how this is a small, single owner concept, I have to be extremely prudent with both my time and money. Nowait saves us time and money. I extended the check-in radius to 20 miles though. Many restaurants start at 2-5 miles. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the concerns over wait times and such.

  9. Maartha Farley says:

    Your mom has been talking about this forever! Can’t wait to come. Our small group will come and try this out soon! Warning! We are a rowdy bunch of Baby Boomers!

  10. Chris Eaker says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever had sourdough pizza crust. I’m looking forward to trying it.

    Also, what is restaurants’ hangup with allowing reservations? I’m not a fan of this trend. That seems to be the norm in downtown. The waits are usually long if you’re there at prime eating hours, especially at the smaller ones on Market Square like Stock and Barrel. Why not let people select their time?

    • I know you’d never do this, but lots and lots of folks make reservations and don’t show up for them. It’s a thing. That’s why.

      Congratulations, Brian!

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