There aren’t many people around town who don’t know Sean Larkin: The “Jon Snow” of Olneyville, whose brewery has recently drawn local artists to Garage Markets and even an appearance from Kevin Bacon. But fewer of his disciples likely know how the head brewer and pizza chef of Revival Brewing Company began his culinary journey.
Growing up on Harris Avenue in an Irish and Italian home, food was always communal and robust, paving the way for Larkin’s passion for cooking. From fast food to country clubs, Larkin started out washing dishes at Pizza Hut before becoming part of the kitchen staff of Camp Fuller at 14 and continued working in the industry through his teen years. A stint at Johnson & Wales taking cooking classes helped Larkin finesse his skill, but it was cut short to continue his education in the field. He found himself in the kitchens of Smuggler’s Cove on Block Island, Cactus Grill in Providence – where he learned to make authentic sauces from scratch – and eventually, Trinity Brewhouse. The brewing seed was planted.
After working his way up to head brewer of Trinity, and developing award-winning craft beers along the way, Larkin branched off on his own to open Revival Brewing in Cranston in 2013. Pizza was on the menu, among the likes of crowd-pleaser Crab Rangoons. On a busy day in 2019, Larkin recalls they ran out of wontons for the rangoons, and he had an idea: “What if we took the crab/cream cheese filling and piped it on a pizza?” The result was a savory pie that married umami flavors and cream cheese with Italian spices.
Today, This Pizza Has Claws is topped with a homemade schezwan crisp, fresh thai basil, and a blend of secret sauces – and you can find it at Revival Brewing’s recent reincarnation on Sims Avenue in Providence, amid skateboard motifs, astroturf over concrete floors, DJ music, and retro vibes.
It was over the pandemic when Larkin had the opportunity to move the brewery into one of the Valley neighborgood’s trademark industrial buildings neighboring ISCO and the Farm Fresh RI food hub. During the walkthrough, Sean had his “aha” moment when he spotted an old chimney inside the manufacturing building: “We will convert this chimney into a pizza oven!”
Larkin was lucky enough to have Joe Cecchinelli’s (father of Figidini’s Frankie Cecchinelli) build out the oven, now a glorious sight that heats up on average 800 degrees with room for up to four pies at a time, from the 100 neapolitan-style balls of dough scratch-made daily. Larkin thrives on locally sourced foods from community partners and friends he’s made along the way. All of the wood they use is kiln dried from Simply Local Wood in Tiverton, and high-quality vegan products are from Providence-based Born From Pain Baked Goods and Barrett’s Garden.
Dubbed Lost Valley Pizza, Larkin’s journey to wood-fired pies lands serendipitously where he began, close to the valley, in the midst of revival. When asked what type of pizza he makes, Larkin answers simply, with no hesitation: “It’s Providence Pizza.” Lost Valley Pizza & Brewery, @lostvalleypvd