Pizza Producer. Music Major. Diligent Dad. Throw some wood in the oven and cook up Seattle’s best pizza with Brandon Pettit.
“The acceptable morning noise level is an electric guitar – not plugged in.”
“June wakes me up by bringing me ice cream,” Brandon Pettit says, still in bed, comfortably under the covers. June is his two-and-a-half year-old daughter, and the ice cream is a toy – a wooden “cone” with interchangeable flavors. Today, they’re having chocolate.
Pettit is a chef in Seattle. His cozy, Ballard pizza restaurant, Delancey, is heralded as one of the best in the city. Its sister bar, Essex, serves up cocktails (some on tap) in an equally unpretentious setting. Brandon opened Delancey after developing a near-obsessive relationship with creating the perfect wood-fired pie. (He built the brick pizza oven to his own specifications.) His wife – food blogger, author, and Delancey co-owner, Molly Wizenberg – wrote about the pair’s work on the restaurant, (a particularly maddening stretch of the their lives), in her book, also called Delancey.
Alice, the Pettit-Wizenberg’s wired-haired griffon, jumps on the bed, and Brandon climbs out, his hair amiss. He ducks into the kitchen, where he pours a bowl of Molly’s homemade granola (rolled oats, pecans or almonds, maple syrup, salt, and olive oil) adds milk, and then ambles over towards the living room couch, taking bites as he goes. After breakfast, he picks up a guitar (“The acceptable morning noise level is an electric guitar – not plugged in”) and practices for a handful of minutes. Brandon majored in music composition as a student, and this morning ritual is nearly non-negotiable. Afterwards, he walks out to the deck, where he swallows the damp morning air.
“I don’t drink coffee, because it makes me crazy,” he says as we step back inside. “You know that feeling when you’re fighting with a loved one, and you’re angry, thinking ‘Why can’t you see my point of view right now?!’ – that’s how I feel when I drink coffee – I feel nuts.” We laugh. Molly and June play underneath a rainbow-colored parachute in the nursery, and Brandon joins the fun. A conversation develops over who will take June where, and when. Molly confirms: “Our morning does involve a lot of negotiation.” It is decided that Brandon will take June to dance class after he stops by Delancey to prep for this evening’s service and Molly will go make pottery. Brandon gets dressed (“I’m going to put jeans on, you’re welcome to come”), and takes Alice outside to pee. Then June and her father shave together (“Buzzzzz,” June mimics, as they stand side-by-side in the bathroom mirror) and dance together (to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”) before climbing into the car.
The drive to Delancey is a brief one. A half-cord of wood for the pizza oven arrives as we do, and Brandon unloads some of the pallet into an exterior shed. He patiently wraps ground beef, and looks over the menu for tonight’s dinner. The playlist shuffles between “Frosty the Snowman” (for June) and jazz (for Brandon). June does laps around a barstool holding her oversized rubber ducky, Steven. As Brandon lights a fresh fire in the oven with cardboard and new logs, an alert goes off on his phone that reads, simply: Take June. “That’s a little fatherhood reminder,” he jokes.
“That’s how I feel when I drink coffee – I feel nuts.”
We leave Delancey and head to the Sunset Hill Community Association where Darrah Blanton’s Dance Class for toddlers and parents is about to begin. While June grabs a handful of plastic toys and divvies them up to the other children, Brandon stretches out on the tile floor. It’s 10:30am on a Monday and he’s already had ice cream, pizza and Taylor Swift. We should all be so lucky.