Written By: Josh Gray | Photography By: Kit Noble
A new pizza joint on Nantucket is proving to be truly upper crust.
Formerly the home of Nantucket Ice Cream and Juice Guys on Straight Wharf, the newly opened Oath Craft Pizza is quietly establishing itself as a go-to pizza shop in downtown Nantucket, serving personal, thin crust pies with a variety of toppings and specialties. A collaboration of Doug Ferriman and Max Seel, the co-owners are as much entrepreneurs as they are pizza guys, though they are still very serious about their craft.
Hailing originally from Cape Cod, Doug has been in the pizza business for more than fifteen years along with his wife Melissa who runs the day-to-day at their other venture, Crazy Doughs Pizza, which has a handful of locations in Boston and Newport. An award-winning artisan chef at international pizza-making competitions (think “Chopped” for pizza), Doug has long been a culinary explorer on a mission to roll out “the perfect crust.”
“We’ve been constantly innovating and pushing the craft, but I really set out about a year and a half ago to reinvent the crust,” said Doug. “It involves two different cooking processes and a searing process that allows us to cook for only eighty to ninety seconds.”
Patrons of the small takeout restaurant could attest to the quick turnaround of the thin crust pies they order. These crusts are prepared fresh each day at 5 a.m., to ensure they are ready to go by the time they open for lunch each day. From there, the pizzas are assembled (and fired at 500 degrees) in a manner reminiscent of other fast food restaurants, such as Chipotle or 5 Guys. As with many of said restaurants chains, Oath has a focus on quality.
“We literally use the best cheese you can buy and everybody loves the crust,” the exact recipe for which Doug said is a trade secret. Oath also offers up to a couple dozen toppings and sauces, with a selfie option on the menu that allows a diner to choose up to four toppings on one pie. All this comes at a very reasonable price range starting at $8 for a full single-topping pizza and the specialties come in around $12.
The vision Doug had for his creation was contagious. After winning a few awards, he began shopping his recipes and a business concept to venture capital firms in order to get a start-up in place. He found Breakaway Innovation Group of Boston and with it a member of their team tasked with due diligence on the project. This person was Max. Holding a master’s degree from Harvard University and a work history in biologic research, Max jumped ship from the firm to join Doug as a partner in the business.
On how they settled on Nantucket, Max said, “we were really just focused on Boston, but someone gave us the opportunity to open here and it was something we couldn’t turn down. We knew the history of the building and liked the idea of the ‘pizza guys’ coming in after the ‘juice guys’.”
Grateful for the response they’ve received thus far from locals and visitors alike, Nantucket is just the starting point with plans to open at least two more locations in the Boston area within a year. “We want this to be a movement as much as it is a brand,” continued Doug. “We want to affect culture internally and externally. I don’t think fulfillment is a word used too much in business, but that is something we want for the people that work here. We also have a plan for community action in every town we’re in, and we hope as a byproduct this brings a sense of pride to those who work at and visit Oath.” The owners plan to stay open through the Columbus Day holiday in 2015.