The ubiquitous pizza, a culture unto itself. What is said to have started in 18th-century Naples is now a worldwide culinary powerhouse with localized versions by country, region, city, or even neighborhood.
Pizza is a subjective business, and for years, its artists simply tried to woo the taste buds of the local crowd. Of course, with the litany of ways to serve pizza, and the lines now being blurred between regional styles, there’s no “best” way to pizza.
Your crust is the base for everything you do. Although the “Pizza Wars” of chain restaurants skew diners' crust expectations, a restaurant with a robust pizza menu doesn’t have to get so complicated. Beyond thin crust or deep dish, try an international or in-season ingredient pizza as a special. Offer a gluten-free or cauliflower option for interested guests. One thing is for certain: if you land on a signature crust, eaters will flock back.
Sauce It Up
Similar to crust, sauce experimentation has kicked up notches over the years. Spicy or sweet options such as Frank's RedHot® Original Buffalo Wing Sauce or Stingin' Honey Garlic Sauce BBQ can beautifully complement a topping like chicken. The best advice: stick to a special, homemade pizza sauce if you want to stand out. Tinker with herbs and tomato styles that match the style you’re trying to achieve.
Melt with You
The unbeatable cheesy staple on pizza is mozzarella. A brand like Bacio might feature an ingredient such as the Kiss of Buffalo Milk®, enabling you to charge slightly more for exclusive quality. For something different than mozzarella, burrata never disappoints.
The flavor combinations are seemingly endless but remember to think like your audience. Meat lovers might want sausage or Italian sausage crumbles, mild and spicy pepperoni options, succulent chicken, and sliced salami like prosciutto or pancetta. The proteins and fats work beautifully with your saucy, cheesy pie.
For those looking at healthier toppings, offer mushrooms, truffles, onions, black olives, spinach, arugula, garlic, or pineapple, to name a few. But be wise to wield mighty herbs to tilt the flavor scales: rosemary, oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, and even mint might do the trick
Delivering and presenting a pizza at a table can feel like an event, as it emerges from your kitchen and moves through your dining area. This is a representation of your restaurant, so keep innovation in the back of your mind when putting your best slice forward.
Create a “signature way” to deliver your pizza. You could have your server deliver, cut, and serve the first slices to each guest, demonstrating a personal touch. Or present the pie on a special surface — a wood block, elevated comfortably above your glassware, or in a deep cast iron pan.
Come up with fun names for your pizza menu. If you’re a pizza purveyor in Boston and have a sports theme, consider naming your pies after historic sports figures from Bean Town. This also creates a predictable process for inventory and cooking with preset items.