If Delancey & Essex were Brandon Pettit and
Molly Wizenberg's reimagining of the New Jersey / New York City pizzerie Pettit (and our erstwhile director)
grew up around, Dino's Tomato Pie is the tribute: the polished wood, two sauce square pies, dark booth seats, windows lettered like a Hackensack butcher, neon signs like a Route 9 slice house, and
even a website that is living tribute to the innocent and earnest websites that many of our local pizza houses had back when we each, in turn, left New Jersey. It's about delight as much as it's about
getting it right, and we were grateful as ever to be involved with the WizenPettit family again in each pursuit, from soup-to-nuts, or just tomatoes-to-trays.
The website you would have to see to believe began not as a thought to be ironic or make a play for the "hip" clientele of Seattle's Capital Hill, but with pure love: for all the pizza parlors
from Monroe and Freehold, up Route 9 to Jersey City, all the way to Nanuet, and over to Staten Island, and for the internet in its own earlier, more earnest, more enthusiastic, less bullshitty years.
It's New Jersey in its "this is something we're really into and you'll be too or you won't", but it also pulls off a pretty mean feat for a restaurant website: Notching more than 50,000 visitors
over its first two weeks, and averaging 1,500/day since, entirely on the back of that willingness to have more legitimate fun with the identity, and the tone. (Thanks to
Tom DesLongchamp for his help and natural understanding with just that tone!)
In particular? We wrote the copy, created the concept and the graphics, coded every in-line style and hidden easter egg (keep checking back) and made the pizzas spin. It's just one part of the identity,
but we would be lying if we said it was not our favorite website we've ever worked on, or the most effective.
For the windows we developed a look that would just tell it like it is: no trendy logos or "artisanal" catchphrases, but the neon signs of our youth and the this-is-who-we-are window lettering of
our grandfathers' youths: Great slice pie from the hottest oven, served without too much oregano, with a great variety of wines, and open later than you're likely to be on your feet.
Dino's proves it all night, and we'd like to think that our designs do the same. You'd have to stop in for a slice to really compare, though.