March 2011 Issue
Sarah Hodon
Running a pizzeria is more than a labor of love — for many operators, it’s also a family affair. Working with family can be the perfect arrangement for your business, but it also comes with its share of challenges. As many veteran family-owned pizzeria operators and human resource experts will agree, it’s important to set some guidelines when working with relatives.Read More
Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman
Baby artichokes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
One (10-ounce) pre-baked thin pizza crust
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

Prepare baby artichokes by rinsing under cold running water. Cut off top 1/3 of petals and cut off stems. Snap off leaves, about 3 leaves at a time.
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Big Dave Ostrander
You’ve got questions … our expert has the answers. Submit your questions via e-mail to Jeremy White ( — make sure to put “Ask Big Dave” in the subject line. We’ll pass the best questions on to Dave each month for his highly sought-after advice.Read More
Pizza Today Staff
If you’re about to open the doors of a new pizzeria, you’ve no doubt given lots of thought to your oven and POS selection, but have you taken the time yet to thoroughly examine the massive amount of smallwares you’ll need to run your new location? Read More
Mandy Wolf Detwiler, Managing Editor
When Ray Perkins, owner of Chubby Ray’s Louisville Pizza Company in Louis­ville, Kentucky, was approached by a group of Girl Scout Brownies to do a pizza workshop for one of their badges, Perkins agreed, even though he’d never really worked with kids before. In fact, his establishment is known more for game day excitement, poker tourna­ments and live music. Still, Perkins saw an opportunity to cater to new clien­tele, so he agreed.Read More
Jeremy White, Editor in Chief
Pizza is a giving industry. The people behind the pizza business care, and we show it every day in myriad ways. All across the country, pizzerias sponsor Little League baseball teams, Girl Scout troop events, adult volleyball leagues … you name it. Pizza shop owners donate money and gift cards to local fund­raising efforts and provide pizza to community events. They cater birthday parties and business lunches.Read More
Tom Lehmann
From time to time, I get questions from operators wanting to know what the secret is to making a decent thin-crust or thick-crust pizza. To answer this question, I’d like to share some tips for making both thin- and thick-crust pizzas.Read More
Bill Oakley, Executive V.P.
In challenging economic times, it’s not just about knowing how to produce a quality pizza and understanding your customers’ needs and wants to maintain and grow your pizzeria. Attending an industry tradeshow – even during an economic slowdown – can be the best vehicle to obtain new knowledge, insight and ideas that can help you position your pizzeria for future growth. Read More
Pizza Today Staff
Bobby Athanasakis is president of Manny & Olga’s Pizza, which is based in the Wash­ington, DC area. The company is currently expanding and has 10 stores.
Q: While most pizzerias are steeped in the Italian culture, Manny & Olga’s has Greecian roots. How does that extend throughout the business?
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Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman
Frank McCarron, general manager/ chef at Portino’s Fresh Italian in Valley Center, California, wanted to freshen up his menu. So he decided not to introduce a new type of pizza, but instead opted to incorporate seafood pasta specials. “Seafood pasta spices up the menu and offers variety for customers,” says McCarron. At Portino’s, seafood pasta specials mean shrimp sitting in a pool of scampi, cacciatore or primavera sauce; clams soaking in red or white sauce, or salmon swimming in dill butter and lemon pepper sauce.Read More
Daniel P. Smith
In 1993, Tony DiSilvestro and his wife, Cynthia, opened Ynot Pizza and Italian Cuisine in Virginia Beach. “We were 24 years old and doing it all,” DiSilvestro recalls, operating a store with little more than hope, previous experience and used equipment.Read More
Jeremy White, Editor in Chief
Ask Thomas Marr if he launched his business with a massive advertising campaign, and he shakes his head and offers a slight smile. His company, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza in Washington, D.C., is a well-branded concept. As for marketing, though, Marr keeps it basic. He prefers to divert his resources elsewhere.Read More
Jeffrey Frehoff
A neat, clean and organized kitchen is always a happy kitchen. Life in our pizzerias can be hectic. When compared to other restaurants, I think we put out a larger menu with a much smaller space, for the most part. It creates a lot of work and a lot of prep –– all in tight spaces. We want to make sure that we’re also keeping up with board of health regulations.Read More
Katie Ayoub
Today’s consumers seek a big bang for their bucks. They also snack more than ever –– enjoying everything from snack wraps to small plates. Operators can capitalize on both of these flash points with enticing happy-hour promotions driven by savvy value strategies. The benefit for the operator is clear. Reaping the profits from increased traffic thrown into the typically slower part of the operational day is an attractive proposition. Pizza Today talked to several folks who boast successful happy hours that are contributing significantly to the bottom line.Read More
Scott Anthony
What does the word “brand” mean to you? Unless you are the marketing director of a large organization, it may carry little importance, as people will likely not make the mental connection when they hear your name. Your marketing dollars are in short supply and the economy is uncertain at best, so why should an independent operator care about branding their concept? In a very fundamental sense, branding makes a consumer associate a specific product –– pizza –– with a specificRead More
Nora Caley
A mascot can help you boost sales, but you have to create the right mascot and use it effectively. Whether it’s a costume that an employee wears or a cartoon character on your logo, the mascot can help you differentiate your­self from competitors. Read More
Pasquale "Pat" Bruno
We all make mistakes (ever forgot a birthday or anniversary?). Usually we can make amends in some fashion (roses? dinner out?) and life goes on. In the business we are in, mistakes can cause a deeper problem –– like a customer not coming back –– so we strive to get it right the first time and every time. Read More
John Arena, Metro Pizza // Las Vegas, NV
In 1970, Pogo, a famous and beloved cartoon character, uttered the phrase, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” While the reference was made with regards to man’s negative impact on the environment, those words certainly apply to today’s pizza industry as well. Read More
AnnMarie Mannion
What do you want to be doing 10 years from now? If you’re the owner of a family-owned pizzeria, and your dream is to kick back on a sunny beach with an umbrella drink in your hand while a suc­ceeding generation continues the business, then it’s not too early to start planning. Read More
Lee Erica Elder
In a business setting, the importance of maintaining privacy extends beyond the scope of one’s personal privacy to that of each employee. Con­fidentiality should be at the top of every pizzeria owner’s maintenance checklist. How safe is your staff’s personal infor­mation?Read More
Pat Bruno
What exactly is soppressata? In a nutshell, it’s a form of dry- cured salami. A specialty of southern Italy, it is traditionally made using pork (beef is used on occasion). The basic seasonings include cracked red pepper and garlic. Depending on who is making it, some versions are hotter than others (in other words, more red pepper is used). Overall, I love the fragrant, spicy flavor of soppressata. Read More
Robyn Davis Sekula
Once a year, Los Angeles-based Rosti Tuscan Kitchen buys new shoes for kitchen employees at its two locations. As owner Kevin Goldfein sees it, it’s an investment in his staff that pays off. Good shoes with non-slip soles prevent accidents, particularly falls, which can be common in a kitchen where oil and flour are used liberally. Read More
Howard Scott
It’s that time of year again. You know the drill. You hope to pay as little as possible while staying within the rules. Your CPA, accountant, enrolled agent, or tax preparer does the calculat­ing, gives you the results and you write out the checks. This year, don’t just comply with his instructions. Make the exercise a painless Read More
Mandy Wolf Detwiler

We rolled up to Denino’s Pizza Tavern –– an unassuming pizzeria in a working-class neighborhood on Staten Island –– at about two on a bright Wednesday afternoon. A few regulars peppered the granite countertop, and we took seats at a high table overlooking the street. This is a no-delivery, cash-only place with a long and storied history.
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Big Dave Ostrander
Very early in my career I was referred to as a “pizza boy.” After about a year of learning the ropes, you earned the title of “pizza man” –– or washed out. The difference was a couple of thousand hours of being the gopher, grunt, zip, trainee, etc. The attrition rate was very high. The instructors would rival a career boot camp drill instructor. Read More
Heather Larson
Planning ahead for how you’ll accommodate big groups saves time and prevents confusion. Having a system in place for seating parties of six or more can eliminate chaos in your dining room and add to your word-of-mouth marketing success. Not having an approach spells trouble. Whether you opt for allowing reservations, calling ahead or you endeavor to make waiting for a table fun, being prepared means you’ll attract more customers and generate added revenue.Read More
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