Wizenberg goes step-by-step in detailing how Delancey came together as a restaurant, starting with Brandon’s passion for pizza, his working-behind-the-scenes at another restaurant, how he found a location and the permits, and started to plan things like hiring and firing. She’s honest about the strain that his passion and drive puts on their marriage — she loves him for his passion, but she worries about whether it’s a scheme and a hobby that he’ll drop, or whether the restaurant will ruin them. A restaurant is a risky proposition in the best of situations, and this honesty is really compelling. At one point she even yells at him, “I don’t want a restaurant!”
The pizza also sounds really delicious. But: again, Wizenberg does something weird with recipes — there are no recipes from Delancey (my guess is that there’s a cookbook afoot), but there’s the occasional recollection of something “they ate while putting the restaurant together.” They’re supposed to be “meaningful” recipes, but they feel perfunctory.
The first few years of a marriage are an interesting adjustment to the rhythm of someone else’s life: the idea that, through the ebbs and flows, you are legally bound to this person for life is something that carries weight. You can’t just leave. Wizenberg’s frank writing about how to make a restaurant, and the difficulties that come with this decision, show how a love of food can be one thing, enough to sustain a cute blog-to-book even, but building a life together is something altogether different — and that’s the stuff of a book that has something to say about the ups and downs of relationships, family, and love.