Clay oven viable for NY-style pizzeria?

Hi! I’m preparing to open a NY style pizzeria mid next year and am doing some preliminary equipment research.

Up to this point I was convinced I would need a 2-3 deck (3 trays per deck) gas oven with a stone floor, but after recently hearing about and visiting Best Pizza’s website ( -where I immediately noticed that they use a brick oven- I started wondering if a clay or brick oven could work for me too?

My main reason for even taking this into consideration is that making a deck oven locally would cost me $3k+, importing one would also cost me $3k+ (insane import tariffs), but making a clay oven locally will only set me back $500 - $1k. Since this is my first swing at the restaurant game, I want to avoid excess upfront investment where a viable alternative exists, but is a clay oven actually viable?

Considering NY-style pizza’s longer cook and size (when compared to neopolitan), a couple of questions come to mind:
[]Will it be possible to handle peak hours with a clay oven’s limited space and access?
]Will the floor maintain it’s heat in peak hours?
[*]Will it just be too much of a hastle and make more sense to make the extra $2k investment in a deck oven?

Some bacground info: I plan on opening a 20-person-capacity NY style (slice) pizzeria in South America (oh and it’s a hot/humid city at sea-level if that helps). Additionally, I also plan on selling Sicilian style slices, so an oven that can handle both types of pizza styles would be ideal.

I would appreciate any advice/input on this!


Honestly for your first time I wouldn’t go with an open flame type oven like pictured on the website. They are tricky to use and not great when it gets busy. The price point you mentioned makes it harder to decide but knowing what I know I wouldn’t start out like that. Maybe someone else will chime in.

Thanks for your advice! I’ll definitely keep that in mind!

Hi Ignacio:
What make oven can you buy for 3k?
George Mills

Hi Ge

Hi George, I’ve been looking at different options and have found the following so far (in regards to deck ovens that are in my price range):
[]2 decks, gas, locally manufactured: about $3k
]3 decks, gas, chinese: $1.3k-$1.6k (roughly $3k when adding shipping costs and very high import tariffs)
[*]1 deck (baking area= 70.8 inch x 28.3 inch), electric, italian: $3.4k (shipping already included)
Although I would ideally want an American-made oven, the price ranges I’ve seen are considerably higher (even for used ovens) than what I can afford at the moment.

From the three options above, I think the best quality manufacturing would come from the italian electric oven, but I have a feeling that gas ovens with an actual flame will deliver a better tasting product. Also, electricity down here is way more expensive than gas.

Because of the high prices mentioned above, I looked into the possibility of making a clay oven (which I’ve heard can be made locally for $500-$1k). BspaPizza made a good observation in this thread when warning about the hastle/trickiness that wood-fire ovens can pose during busy hours, and I’ve also heard that it’s sometimes hard to find dry wood locally (which would be needed for this type of oven). So now I wonder if a gas clay oven could be a viable alternative?

[SIZE=14px]Gas would be your best bet for ether the clay or other ovens.

Its not that there is noticeable taste difference but gas is more economical to use and more important the heat recovery is faster in gas ovens.

George Mill[/SIZE]

Thanks George! Will keep that in mind!