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Name that oven: Soon-to-open pizza restaurant taking submissions for wood-fired ‘behemoth’

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At the centerpiece of the soon-to-open Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar is a 20,000-pound, white-brick-on-the-inside, local-limestone-on-the-outside wood-fired oven that reaches 1,000 degrees and can cook a pizza in 90 seconds. This thing is a “behemoth,” Limestone says on its Facebook page, “but she’s gentle as a dove.”

And she needs a name.

Limestone, 814 Massachusetts St., is taking suggestions on its Facebook page now. They plan to choose 10 finalists then announce the winner when the restaurant opens, expected sometime in early April, executive chef and owner Rick Martin said.

The newly installed wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. (Contributed photo)

The newly installed wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. (Contributed photo) by Sara Shepherd

Not only is the massive cylindrical oven a focal point of the restaurant, it’s key to creating the Neapolitan-style pizza Limestone will specialize in. The French fire-on-hearth (wood is burned inside the chamber right next to items being cooked) oven was installed and its exterior finished by local stone artist Karl Ramberg.

When it comes to picking the perfect name, Martin said, keep in mind that “we’re making a product that’s perceived as being authentic Italian, but we want to be very Kansas.” And in Italian tradition, ovens get female names. Last but not least is the hot factor. How hot? When I stopped by this afternoon, the inside of the oven was still hot — from a fire that burned out on Saturday.

Here’s a smattering of the 80-ish name suggestions Limestone has gotten so far: Aretha ("large and in charge and hot as hell”), She-Ra, Paytah ("Sioux name meaning fire”), Bernadette ("Or Burnadette”), Glinda ("after the good witch in OZ”), Elda ("Norse for Fire Woman”), Amelia, Pearl, Betty and, of course, Bertha. To add your own suggestion, go to Limestone's Facebook page.

The wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. gets hot. (Contributed photo)

The wood-fired oven at Limestone Pizza Kitchen and Bar, 814 Massachusetts St. gets hot. (Contributed photo) by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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