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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage Hardcover – May 6, 2014


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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage + A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table + Delicious!: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451655096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451655094
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: When Orangette blogger and Bon Appétit columnist Molly Wizenberg emerged from the whirlwind of publishing her best-selling debut memoir, A Homemade Life, she was shocked to realize that her new husband Brandon’s latest ambitious/crazy scheme was coming to pass: with scant restaurant experience, he was opening a Brooklyn-style wood-fire pizza place in their Seattle neighborhood. Brandon and the restaurant were on the move, and she could give into their momentum or risk an unraveling marriage. In Delancey: A Man, A Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, we get Wizenberg's hilariously unvarnished, poignant account of how she found her place in their new life, and what it took both of them them--as well as the friends, relatives, and strangers-turned-friends who rallied to their aid--to transform an empty space into a community that feeds them, plus an expectant crowd that often snakes down the block (and occasionally feels like a zombie horde). If you have gauzy dreams of opening your own little place, you’ll glean essential lessons, like that you should really reconsider. But any fan of great food (especially pizza) will find much to love, including recipes for the meals they most enjoyed in the Delancey-opening era--food and cocktails that are improvisational, delicious, made memorable by time spent with excellent friends. Wizenberg finished her manuscript when she was 37-weeks pregnant with their daughter, June--“the heart of the pizza party”--and just as they opened bar-next-door Essex, events that we think call for another memoir. --Mari Malcolm

From Booklist

Marriage plus business isn’t always the best formula to produce happiness. Just ask author Wizenberg and her husband, Brandon Pettit. Armed with a lot of enthusiasm and youthful vigor, the two opened a Seattle pizzeria, determined to produce unique pies from fresh ingredients. A trained music composer, Brandon has multiple passions, including food and cooking. His zeal swept his wife along until, as owners of both a lease and an oven, they had to carry through with their dreams and actually hire staff, create a menu, and open the doors for paying customers. Despite the pizzeria’s success and her continued love for her husband, Wizenberg finds daily work stresses often overwhelming. Throughout the text, Wizenberg records recipes, not merely from the restaurant’s repertoire but from her own files of favorite foods. Anyone, married or not, considering launching a restaurant will take away from this memoir some valuable personal and professional lessons. --Mark Knoblauch

More About the Author

Molly Wizenberg is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times. Her first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, was a New York Times bestseller, and her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, The Washington Post, The Art of Eating, and The Guardian, and on Saveur.com and Gourmet.com. She also co-hosts the hit podcast Spilled Milk. She lives in Seattle with her husband Brandon Pettit, their daughter June, and two dogs named Jack and Alice. She and Brandon own and run the restaurants Delancey and Essex.

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Customer Reviews

I love Molly's writing style, and having recipes included - good ones - is a delight.
Katherine
If you want to open a restaurant, or start your own business, after reading this book, you probably should.
L. M. Keefer
Memoir Rating: 3/5 Memoirs are usually a little too feely and poorly written for my taste.
I Know What You Should Read

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 63 people found the following review helpful By K. Kasabian VINE VOICE on March 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a frequent visitor of Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette, and read her engrossing memoir, A Homemade Life. A naturally gifted writer, she has set the bar high for herself in her sophomore work, Delancey, a memoir about building a small business and surviving a marriage in the process. Unfortunately, this book delves too lightly into its complex and intimate subject matter. Learning how to navigate in a young marriage is difficult and a worthy subject matter on its own, but learning to coexist while finishing a book, going on tour, and helping your new husband to open a restaurant is a writer's paradise. This memoir whets the reader's appetite, but does not satisfy. It reads more like a series of light-hearted columns than a cohesive story. Wizenberg's talent for bringing the reader into her living room is one of her greatest strengths, but as a reader, I felt as though I never made it past the foyer. Not recommended.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful By N. B. Kennedy TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I absolutely loved My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store by Ben Ryder Howe. So I was looking forward to this read that promised a similar, riveting story about a young couple whose marriage is stretched (almost to the breaking point) when they decide to open a pizzeria.

But, sadly, the narrative is bland and gets bogged down in details. It starts out great, as the author sketches out her personality and that of her hobby-loving (but usually hobby-abandoning) husband. But soon after her husband announces his intention to open a pizzeria, the book descends into long passages about learning to make pizza, scouting for a location and opening and running a restaurant. The author, obviously a blogger, includes very few viewpoints from anyone else, including her husband. She talks about her husband, but scenes and dialog including him are sparse, almost nonexistent, except for one dramatic moment when he wants to back out.

I was hoping for more of these moments, but like many blogs turned books, the book has little narrative drive and no story arc. Editors should have had her turn some of the narrative into scenes and dialog, to give the story energy: the old adage "show, don't tell" should be every storyteller's goal. The author does describe the train wreck the restaurant almost made of her life, but it's buried in all the verbiage about restaurant ownership. If you're interested in what it's like to open a restaurant, go for it. But if you're looking for a compelling story of the twists and turns of a young marriage, this isn't it. I would like to read the author's first book, though, the bestselling A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, which got great reviews.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Antigone Walsh VINE VOICE on May 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Opening a restaurant can break the bank and the hearts of the aspirants. When the author's husband, a decidedly scattered academic, decides to open a pizzeria, the author indulges him, thinking he is not really serious. But to her shock, he is. This is the story of how a young couple fought to build a business and save their marriage.

The book reads more like a series of blog posts than a smooth narration. Although a food professional, the author is not cut out for the restaurant business. Recognizing her strengths and weaknesses, leads her to a decision that is best for the business, her marriage and herself. Included are a number of recipes. The range is fairly broad and includes a boozy eggnog, a quite good bourbon sour, and a garlic martini. Some are pedestrian like the penne alla vodka and a brownie recipe attributed to Katherine Hepburn while some intrigue like the dates sautéed in olive oil and dusted with sea salt. But most are fairly pedestrian with the author's twists, i.e., rice pudding with cherries, meatloaf with fish sauce. I thought the author was a bit overwrought and at times insensitive but overall this is an appetizing account. Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book by Molly Wizenburg is about her take on the complexities and challenges that she and her husband, Brandon, faced up to and overcame in launching a start up restaurant in the Seattle area having pizza as its main food item. The book brings the reader into the back breaking world of restaurant start up on a low budget with a very heavy dose of sweat equity. There is suspense and anxiety enough to make a delectable pie, but the story is broken up by insertion right in the body of the work of the author's favorite recipes, some of which I found not to my own liking and some had nothing to do with pizza or with this restaurant's kitchen. The photos add to the story. The author shares the messy details of such things as building a pizza oven, solving electrical problems, finding a building, negotiating a lease, figuring out the recipe for pizza dough and testing thousands of doughs, dealing with the oddities of hired help and on and on it goes. The tension builds as opening day approaches. Will they be ready on time? Will the restaurant be a hit? It would have been nice to read this book while dining on one of their pizzas, but they are 2,000 miles away.

The effects on husband and wife of pooling resources, stretching their time and the clash of the restaurant demands with their own lives and how they get through a very tough time make for interesting reading and some good life lessons. A lot of ingredients go into the story, but some are not well seasoned and fall flat.

Footnote: I went on YELP and to the restaurant's own web site to get a feel for how Delancey is functioning in the real world today. Nice book, yes. But, perhaps it would have been a better book had the author treated upon the reasons why they have so many one star ratings on Yelp. There is some drama out there on Yelp.
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