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Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,985 ratings  ·  837 reviews
In this funny, frank, tender memoir and New York Times bestseller, the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published May 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,985 ratings  ·  837 reviews

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May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: culinary
After loving Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life, I opened to the first page of Delancey with high expectations. Yet about halfway through the memoir, disappointment crept in. Wizenberg's writing style had not changed, nor had the format of her memoir (short story followed by a recipe)--two elements that I enjoyed in A Homemade Life. Yet the depth of feeling had. While A Homemade Life is about food, yes, it's more about her relationships with other people--her parents, boyfriends, friends, and, eventually, Brandon, the ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
When my husband and I are not dreaming about living off the land on some kind of homestead, we're dreaming about having our own restaurant. As I dawdle around my kitchen on a Saturday morning, I'll think, "If we had a restaurant that served brunch, people would get totally addicted to my savory corn pancakes with chives and corn." My husband will talk about offering his home-brewed sour cherry beer in our brew pub. But it's all a pipe dream. Sometimes, just getting dinner on the table for one ve ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I always love Wizenberg's writing; it's intimate and lovely, and I want to eat every single thing she mentions. Loved this story of opening a restaurant with her husband, and the difficulties that ensued. I will say, having eaten there - you'd never know what a HUGE labour of love it was to open. Anyway, lots of fun and recommended to anyone thinking of opening a restaurant and fans of her blog or the first book.
Cheeky Cher
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
3 stars - It was good.

Interesting memoir with some very yummy recipes included that I intend to try.

Favorite Quote: I knew what it was like to be staring down a future that you don’t want and to decide to veer hard away from it, even if you’re not entirely sure where you hope to go instead.

First Sentence: I dug out my wedding vows the other night.
What a delightful read. This made me wish I could go grab a pizza at Delancey, or get invited to a dinner party at Molly Wizenberg’s place – if only both weren’t way out in Seattle. There’s such warmth and humor to her food writing. Here she immerses you in the minutiae of setting up and running a new restaurant (in the midst of a recession, no less) but makes everything interesting, from tiling a pizza oven and plating salads to learning how to do payroll. Of course, there were many mishaps alo ...more
Beth Knight
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Really a 3.5-star book. I enjoyed reading about most of what Molly and her husband went through in order to open up their Seattle-based pizza restaurant, Delancey. One part I wasn't really interested in was the building of the special oven; it was kind of slow to me so I ended up skipping most of it. I loved hearing about the food, though, and there are some delicious-sounding recipes included, one at the end of each chapter. I ended up feeling hungry while reading and now have a big craving for ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Molly is a good writer. This was an enjoyable book about the love of food and the perseverance to start a pizzeria. I think I should have read the book instead of listening to the audiobook. I want to see the recipes not hear them. :) Recommended to those that like to cook or own/want to open a restaurant.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love love loved A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, so of course I requested Delancey. I was not disappointed!

The short of it: Wizenberg has a way of writing that makes me feel like we’d totally be friends. I’d love to hang out with her, and I could completely relate to how this all went down.

All the rest: You know how sometimes you really want to encourage someone, even when you think that they might not succeed at what they are attempting? Or really even follow through on tryi
Nancy Kennedy
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this in front of my fireplace over a chilly fall weekend. Just perfect. This has a great narrative (sometimes food memoirs can feel a bit disjointed, but this one has a distinct through line, a clear beginning, middle, end) and feels honest. I want to cook a bunch of the recipes, and, frankly, now I want to work at Delancey or Essex (probably Essex, honestly, because I love that they make their own bitters and mustard and all those delicious pickles). I've had the privilege of dining at b ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
This was an ok read. It was nice to read about starting up a restaurant but I think it would have been more interesting if the story was written by the person that was actually setting up the restaurant, her husband. Also at times I found Molly complaining a bit too much. All in all an ok foodie-read.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this in one day because I was on an odyssey to the JFK airport and then in the airport for a long time. I obviously haven't had the chance to try any of the recipes in this book, but there are many that sound delicious (and approachable!) for when I get back to my kitchen. I really love Molly Wizenberg's writing because she feels like an old friend--she's your pal who is a bit reserved, calming for you, and always has the best snacks on hand. She further proved that we should be buds with ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: elle
(The Goodreads app ate the original version of this review. That'll teach me to not work from my computer.)

I personally find it difficult to review memoirs because, regardless of the story being told or the knowledge imparted, so much of my enjoyment as a reader comes from whether or not I like the author, as he or she reveals himself through the book. While Delancey is an interesting account of the opening of a small business and its toll on a marriage, the book was ultimately marre
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finally bought a copy of Delancey and made the penne alla vodka (it was great). Glad to have my own copy! Still a big fan.

ORIGNAL REVIEW, JULY 14, 2014! I like Molly Wizenberg's Orangette blog, and I was delighted to see this book in the Ridgefield Library. I might buy it, because I like a lot of the recipes--both for weird experiments (gin with ground pepper and garlic?) and for plain ol' "that sounds great!" meals (penne alla vodka). The story of the ins and outs of starting the restaurant wa
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
There are a lot of restaurant books out there, and ,oat of them are alright. This one is different because the author is not a chef, nor was it ever her desire or dream to open a restaurant, and yet somehow she found herself pretty much building one from scratch with her husband. The reason this book was such a treat is because Wizenberg is a)hilarious b) a very self aware, very good writer and c) a foodie with a blog.

The opening chapters of this book were so funny, like laugh out lo
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This last week I've been in a reading slump, every book I picked up I put back down before the 50th page, but this book broke that. Delancey was a wonderful book about a couple building a restaurant. Equally parts hilarious and serious, this book was a great book that I'd recommend.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of food memoir we look for: honest, funny, a peek into a fascinating life. With the opening of her and her husband’s Seattle pizzeria as the backdrop, Wizenberg reflects on her life, marriage and food. Her thoughts are honest about herself and marriage and how the restaurant impacted both. Without really naming it, I saw a lot of parallels between having a child and opening a restaurant, the difficulties and triumphs.

The recipes included after a handful of chapters look doable
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
If only there was a pizza recipe...
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was time for a dip into non-fiction and I often wonder how/why restaurants manage to survive, die quickly, or become not very good old institutions.

I'd been a server in a few places during my college years; I'd never been to Seattle, and the excerpt I read had style and humor. So I got a library copy and settled in on the porch swing.

The author never wanted to be a part of a restaurant, but her seeker husband had not found his niche in life yet, and since his wife was
May 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book had everything in it for me to love: recipes, food-oriented stories, family/friends pulling together to create a new business that struggles to succeed and find its place in the neighborhood, and hard won life lessons learned along the way. Except. Except, the lovely author, who is really our heroine whether she accepts it gracefully or not, never actually accepts the premise of the book herself. Namely, that a young newly married couple who both love to cook at home and share food wit ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wizenberg's first book was lovely, and it was with some trepidation that I picked up her sophomore effort. I needn't have fretted, this was as engrossing and as engaging as A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table though it didn't make me cry. (view spoiler) ...more
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I actually enjoyed this one more than the last one, perhaps because I have so recently been somewhat involved in someone else opening their restaurant and am myself starting a somewhat new and demanding endeavor, but there's more. The whole second half of A Homemade Life was about Molly meeting Brandon and falling in love and their marriage. And it was frankly a little too perfect for me. Delancey allows us a look at a committed relationship that is much more familiar to me. It's scarey and diff ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say, I'm a Molly Wizenberg fanatic. I read her blog, listen to her podcast, drink at her bar, and get starstruck when I see her sitting at the counter of her restaurant. Reading Delancey was like catching up with an old friend on what she's been doing since college. Since I hear her tell small details of her life weekly on her podcast, Spilled Milk, I feel like I know her. Like everything she does, her writing style in this book is conversational, honest, and often humorous. But this ...more
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Baseball is to Field of Dreams as food is to Molly Wizenberg's latest book--Delancey. Sure, baseball figures prominently in Field of Dreams, but it is really the story of a young father's relationship with his own father. Likewise, Molly writes about food, and so much more. She writes about making something new (a new self, a new life, a new relationship) at the intersection of the opening of a restaurant and a young marriage. Cozy read. Makes me want to cook--for friends.

And I must say, it was
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
What I learned after reading Delancey is that opening a restaurant is hard work. It is very hard work, and the author can be a little bit whiney about it. I can appreciate all of the details that go in to opening and running a restaurant, but sometimes it felt like too much information. Just as I felt I was drowning in the minutiae, I would turn the page and thank goodness, that was the end of that chapter. And then it would happen again. . . and again. I would recommend A Homemade Life, but ski ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
wow. elegant writing, about life and food. with a spice of philosophy stirred gently in. well worth the time, its as good as their pizza is .
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

A fun, quick read. I've always liked Wizenberg's writing style, but I felt like this book was a bit misleading--it was made out to be this book about how much opening a restaurant rocked their marriage, but the book was much more about the self-discovery process of the author and not quite as much about their growth as a couple (though there was a little of that, too). Of course, if I'm being honest, because I know how their marriage ultimately ended up, that fact also dampe
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delancey is a perfectly fine book. I am a fan of food memoirs, and Molly Wizenberg's is certainly one of the most coherent and well-organized (there was a clear plot)! Molly is also by the far the most likeable of food writers; she never seems pretentious, and her recipes all seem manageable for the average home cook. However, I wish that Molly had focused more on the "marriage" aspect of Delancey's title and a little less on the restaurant part. These were the sections I found most relatable an ...more
ugh, didn't get far. I was excited to get into a restaurant industry book written by a woman but it's like at least 80% about her husband so far and I am very very tired. she is playing a supporting role in her own fucking book. I cannot deal with the whole 'somewhat eccentric man is good at food' trope. so he fucking loves pizza. great. he's not worthy of a biography, hon.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I'm just going to go ahead an abandon this one. I'm listening on audio but it isn't sticking with me. Maybe I'll pick up a hard copy eventually but the writing isn't capturing me.
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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. Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit and The Washington Post. She lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Brandon and their daughter June.
“While I sobbed into the greens, I wondered how Brandon, standing a few feet away at the pizza oven, could handle the onslaught of tickets. Answer: he's an East Coaster. In a pinch, he has access to such concepts as 'Fuck 'em', and 'Let 'em wait', and 'I'm working as fast as I can here.' I am a people-pleaser from Oklahoma, where life is placid enough that it's considered song-worthy to watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.” 1 likes
“The square pizza at Di Fara is a complex, multi-step thing: a 1/2-inch-thick crust pressed out into a pan, topped with a long-simmered San Marzano tomato sauce, slices of fresh mozzarella cut from a fist-sized ball, slices of aged mozzarella, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano that he feeds through a hand-cranked grater as he goes, plenty of olive oil poured from a copper jug, and fresh herbs snipped with scissors. It’s sort of like focaccia—focaccia that oozes so much cheese and tomato that you need a knife, a fork, and three napkins to eat it.” 0 likes
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