Chef Brian Hill is passionate about pizza.

"I've always been obsessed with making pizza," he said. "…how exciting it is to make, especially with the live fire."

Hill, the chef behind Francine in Camden and Shepard's Pie in Rockport, officially opened Seabright April 1. The cozy restaurant located at 7 Public Landing in the space formerly occupied by Paolina's Way is the culmination of a vision Hill has harbored for years.

"I just wanted to do this for years and it's such a great space," he said.

The existing wood-fired oven in the restaurant is used to bake the pizzas in about two and a half minutes, Hill said.

The restaurant has a set menu of two salads and five pizzas as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.

"We keep it simple," Hill said.

Vinegar — a combination of red wine, garlic and spices — and mozzarella cheese are house-made each day and locally-sourced items — including cheese curd from State of Maine Cheese Co. — are highlighted, he said. Hill noted the toppings on each pizza are "sparse" but that allows diners to experience "a different flavor in each bite." Hill noted the wet dough creates a light crust that's "not a bellyache."

"To make a good pizza, you need good ingredients," he said. "We're just making it how we would want to eat pizza."

Wood-fired pizza is unique due in part to the intense heat — "a very hot 700 degrees" — as well as the flavor imparted by cooking with wood, Hill said. Another reason Seabright pizza is different: it's rarely round.

Manning the pizza oven most nights is Matt Maniscalco, who describes his pizzaiolo duties as keeping the fire going and rotating the pizzas. The number of pizzas cooked at one time only is limited to the size of the oven, he said, noting the pizzas require tending frequently. The oven cooks up to three pizzas at once, however, the speed at which the food cooks makes up for the limited space.

Hill said he met Maniscalco and his girlfriend Reena Nemirovsky — who manages the front of the house — when the couple were running a food cart at local farmers markets last summer.

"They seemed like the perfect answer to making this oven work," Hill said.

Of his staff, several of whom previously worked with Hill at Francine, he said, "there's all that background of [cooking] technique" that now will benefit patrons of Seabright.

"I've been hanging on to the name [Seabright] for a couple of years," Hill said, adding his grandparents had a beach house on the Jersey Shore by the same name and he thought it appropriate in light of Camden's Seabright Dam as well.

Seabright is currently open from 5 to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Hill said he expects to increase the hours after Memorial Day and will likely be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

There will be outdoor seating on a patio when warmer weather arrives and Hill said he's hopeful he will be able to offer delivery to visiting boats this summer.

Take-out is available by calling 230-1414. Visit Seabright on Facebook at A website also is in the works at