From coast to coast, pizzeria operators put everything they have into their signature pies. In this series, Grande features operators and their secrets to success.
See how three operators from different parts of the country take advantage of the growing wood fired pizza trend.
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I relocated to Syracuse and noticed no one was doing mobile wood fired pizza. I spent a year obsessing about ovens, materials and ingredients to figure out a way to get my dream off the ground and on wheels. In 2015, Toss ‘n’ Fire was born.
I’d say don't be afraid to take measured risks when you are in the restaurant business or in the food business in general. Don't be too quick to take risks, but also, don't wait around and not do it. It's kind of my thing.
The biggest thing we sell is our salt potato pizza, since those ingredients are Syracuse’s claim to fame. We mash the potatoes and put them on pizza with bacon, cheddar and mozzarella. It’s become our signature item.
I had an Italian restaurant for a long time and it didn’t work out for me. When a friend who works for Grande suggested wood fired pizza, my wife and I looked into it, loved it and trained under a wood fired Neapolitan rock star.
I think the biggest advice is you have to be different. You can't copycat just what someone else has. Look at your community and see what your community needs. Say, ‘How can I make my pizza different?’ Know your community and customer.
Simple cheese pizza. I love the sauce, the cheese and the taste. Once in a while I’ll throw some jalapenos on it. But I love it because I can truly taste the cheese. I could eat a cheese pizza three meals a day.
My business partner and I tried wood fired pizza from a place a few towns over and we noticed other people from Bellingham there. After research, one thing led to another and we opened a family restaurant that serves high quality pizza.
Have a clear vision of what you want and know it's not exactly a straight path. There are variations where you go a little this way or that, but it's important the vision stays intact.
I’d have to go with my Smoked Salmon pizza. It’s got my grandfather’s secret smoked salmon and a cilantro-almond-caper pesto. It always holds a special place in my heart.