Chef John Sarnecki hand-tosses the dough and tops the pizzas. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Floyd County Brewing Company’s on-site outpost, the Grain Haus, will fire up its new wood-fired pizza oven for the public starting today.

After adding a 175-square-foot kitchen back in the fall, brewery owner Brian Hampton commissioned a red-tiled, wood-fired pizza oven by Marra Forni of Beltsville, Md. The restaurant hired Chef John Sarnecki, former owner and operator of pizza food truck Eh Cumpari, to run the kitchen.

The new addition will serve the Grain Haus, which sits in the beer garden just below the brewery and main restaurant; it first opened back in the spring. The pizza will not be available in the main restaurant nor is the main brewery’s menu available at the Grain Haus.

While the concepts are a bit different, Hampton said, he wanted to maintain an “artisan and primitive feel.”

Pulled pork barbecue pizza. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Sarnecki, a U.S. Navy veteran, operated his food truck for about a year and had done events with Hampton.

“People loved his pizzas,” Hampton said, “and we kind of fell in love with the pizzas ourselves.”

When the opportunity to take over the kitchen at the Grain Haus arose, Sarnecki said, it seemed like the right fit.

“They had a pizza oven without a pizzaiolo, and I was a pizzaiolo without a pizza oven,” he said. “So it worked out well.”

Pizzas are hand-tossed and topped by Sarnecki in full view of customers, who can order at the bar.

Three pizza options are available at any given time, with a build-your-own option and two rotating specialty pizzas. The two specialty pies for the opening include a Reuben pizza topped with corned beef and sauerkraut, as well as a barbecue pork pizza made with Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.

Available toppings include sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and bacon; build-your-own pies are $10 with one topping, plus $1 for each additional toppings. Specialty pizzas are $14. All pizzas at the Grain Haus are 10-inch pies.

The red-tiled, wood-fired oven was made by Maryland-based Marra Forni . | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Off-menu options also will come and go, such as a unique-tasting Nutella and bacon pizza sampled at a soft opening, prompting one customer to say, “I love Nutella more than life.”

The barbecue pizza was topped with tender pork braised in house-brewed Braun Jovi brown ale, paired with the sweet barbecue and plenty of mozzarella. It was hearty and flavorful.

We also sampled a sausage and pepperoni pizza marked by the tasty and bold fennel sausage, with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce. The pizzas, with their crispy, medium thick crust, generally would serve one very hungry person or two or three people looking to share a bar snack.

Sarnecki said he also grows his own vegetables seasonally, and those will be used for the pizzas, along with toppings he acquires from the nearby New Albany Farmers Market. His goal is to use fresh, quality toppings and to also bring in seasonal additions when possible, he said.

The plan is to add salads as an option at the Grain Haus as well, with pizza and beer pairings to come.

Floyd County Brewing Company and the Grain Haus are located at 129 W. Main St. in downtown New Albany.

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Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Email Kevin at [email protected]