After more than a decade playing in bands like The Takeover UK and 1,2,3, Josh Sickels is moving on to his other passion: making pizza. Next month, Sickels will open the doors at Rockaway Pizzeria in White Oak, a New York-style pizza joint staffed by his nephews and other family members.
Sickels’ priority for Rockaway is living up to its name (Rockaway is an area in Queens). He’s seen a lot of pizzerias around town that boast “New York-style,” but fall flat in execution. That style (also prevalent in New Jersey and Connecticut) has long been chalked up to the quality of the water in New York, but Sickels is not buying it. For him, the quality comes from using whole-milk mozzarella cheese (as opposed to part-skim or other low-fat milks) and All Trumps flour (no relation to the president-elect) for the dough. There’s more to it than that, but he’s mum on other details.
The menu will focus on pizza. That may sound obvious, but Sickels wanted to skirt the tradition of six-page appetizer menus (there will be no jalepeño poppers) to ensure that pizza remains the priority. One calzone, a Big Salad (a Seinfeld nod), soda and four sandwiches round out the non-pizza fare. While he’s still wrapping up the painting and searching for the “perfect pepperoni,” Rockaway Pizzeria is on schedule for a Jan. 3 opening.