Florian Schramm wanted to set a new standard when he opened Berlin’s first pizzeria that exclusively served Naples style pizza. A lofty and successful goal. He’s the reason why many in Berlin now know what a Neapolitan pizza really is. With his passion for the product, high quality standards and a purely authentic style, Florian has succeeded in what eludes many: a successful restaurant and a new standard.
Today, after having opened Standard-Serious Pizza six years ago, the joint is still buzzing like no other and a second is in the works. Florian already has new ideas, but some things remain essential: that what he’s already created should continue to function and be consistent in its quality, that guests like what’s on offer and that he and his employees have fun with what they do.
I can immediately confirm that last statement when I enter the venue. I’m greeted joyously. Everyone present is busy clearing and preparing. The mood is rife with Italian flair. At a large table near the open kitchen, delivery boxes are being folded, a young waitress is arranging chairs and benches, the boss articulates his instructions on the side and also quickly receives a supplier during our conversation. It’s like he was never gone, continuing to speak on the topic seamlessly with his slight and charming Austrian accent. He speaks fast and thinks even faster. He is direct and personal, just like his concept and interior. The Berliner-by-choice likes to do everything himself, and with passion.
He didn’t want an interior designer, because it seemed too impersonal. He wanted to implement his idea of a restaurant by himself, in every facet.
“I don’t want to copy anyone, I want to bring my own version to my guests, inspired by the things that I like, and not the visions of others. Eating is a highly cultural act. But culture is also what we make ourselves.”
Florian Schramm is someone who knows what he wants and who lets himself be guided by his feelings. He studied art and began happily working in the gastronomy sector during his studies. From the southern region of his native Austria (perhaps due to its close vicinity to Italy) he was familiar with pizza’s most primary version: the Vera Pizza Napoletana. When Florian realized that the artist’s life was not as he had hoped after his studies, he decided on a whim to move to Berlin and open a restaurant. He looked around at what was available, but most of all what was lacking, and decided what was missing was the pizza he knew and yearned for from his youth.
“There are diverse factors that determine the authenticity of a Neapolitan pizza. The groundwork has to be right and accepts no compromises, and we stick to this 100%. What you later create from that with seasonality is another subject,” says Florian.
“The dough – which contrary to popular belief is not served thin and crispy but with a wide and blistered crust – is prepared fresh by us daily in a dough mixer from 100% soft wheat flower from Campania. After that the dough rests for 24-30 hours. The toppings are from farmers and suppliers in and around Naples,”explains Florian without a pause, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. “For example, we only use San Marzano tomatoes, grown in the volcanic soil at the foot of Vesuvius. We only process them manually so that the fibres and taste are preserved,” he continues.
Equally noteworthy is the one-of-a-kind Fior di Latte Mozzarella, which comes from a small dairy on the Amalfi coast. The nice detail here is that the cows, whose milk is used to make this traditionally produced mozzarella, wander about in pastures at high altitudes with salty mountain air and are kept and milked in an environmentally sound and natural manner.
Finally, the dough is baked in a traditional Neapolitan pizza oven, which heats up to an infernal 500 degrees, so that it’s ready to eat in 60 to 90 seconds. This way the ingredients stay fresh and the taste rich. During the short baking process, the Fornaio (pizza baker) rotates the dough with a peel so that all sides bake evenly to a golden brown.
Standard-Serious Pizza’s menu changes according to the seasons, and when delivery issues or quality defects arise, the team (who happen to all be Italian) gather around Florian to come up with new pizza variations. All in the name of the best quality possible.
This process seems to demand a lot of time and understanding for the product and its origins, which naturally procures a cost factor. Yet Florian has a clear standing in this regard as well. When he decided to open a restaurant, there was only one ideal:
“Either I do it right, or I don’t do it at all. The guests are happy about a good pizza and understand that quality costs a bit more. It should be completely normal that good products are used in the foods that we consume,” he explains.
It should be said that the prices at Standard-Serious Pizza are on average between 12 and 15 euros; an absolute standard for such good food.
From art student to successful pizzeria owner; even though the life of a restauranteur doesn’t appear very artistic, Florian very much sees a creative aspect in his work and finds it to be an important component. Examples include the restaurant’s interior design, the creation of new menus and finding solutions during more challenging times, such as the lockdown at the beginning of the year.
“As a creative person, it may even be easier to approach such challenges,” he says. When it becomes clear that Florian has to close his restaurant due to the pandemic, he does it without hesitation, to protect his guests, one week before the official start. He simultaneously organizes bicycles and decides with his team to deliver the pizzas. Whoever doesn’t want to face the cold, works on necessary renovations, or in the kitchen.
Unlike others, this momentum is in no way a shock for Florian, but more of a blessing, since he now has time to focus on things that have been percolating for a while. He says he’s well prepared and has the resources and ideas ready if limitations of this manner occur again, so that he can make use of the time.
His new restaurant, located in the ever-popular Torstraße, is equipped with an option for contactless pick-up for pre-ordered meals. He doesn’t want to divulge what this will look like exactly, but one does have to preserve the element of surprise. For his new project Florian once again does everything himself, in close cooperation with his team. Florian Schramm has created a philosophy out of the discipline of pizza-making and enriched it with his ideas and visions. Maybe one of the many reasons why Standard-Serious Pizza is so well received.
For all those seeking a deeper look into the unique features of this south Italian cult-dish, we recommend a culinary excursion into Florian’s world between Naples and Berlin-Mitte. A world where new standards are set and authentic flair is created.
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Words: Esther Seibt
Photos: Standard-Serious Pizza