In the first episode of the Real Slice, Michael and Siler sit down with Christal Spata of Valeo’s Pizza in Kenosha, WI. Valeo’s has been a fixture and pillar of the community for over 50 years, and is one of the original three pizzerias that opened in Kenosha, WI over half a century ago. The pizzeria is housed in an unremarkable building tucked away in a residential section of the city. Owner and Chief Leadership Development Officer, Christal Spata, explains their pizzeria, “We’re not much. We are a carryout/delivery place – we have no dine-in, just a little lobby to come get it. 1,600 square feet – we’re a tight organization. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven down the road and passed the place – like, it is a Mom & Pop, hole-in-the-wall establishment. And I’m going ‘Dang it; I just passed my own business again!’ But I do, because it is just this hidden gem that is just the heart of Kenosha.”
Michael and Siler have an in-depth chat with the 2017 winner of the Caputo Cup, Will Grant of That’s A Some Pizza. Located on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, this award-winning pizzeria uses a 120-year-old sourdough starter! Listen in as Will tells us more about what a sourdough start actually is, how to use one, and how winning the Caputo Cup has helped his business explode.
Listen in as 13 Time World Pizza Champion Justin Wadstein of Sleight of Hand Pizza gives Michael & Siler the low down on his mobile wood-fired pizza business and how he built it into a successful business. Don’t miss this great episode loaded with lots of invaluable tips, pointers, and advice from one of the most winning pizza competitors in the world.
Carmine Testa is father to the famous Jersey Pizza Boys, Nicholas and Michael Testa who have become a viral internet and television success for their acrobatic dough tossing. Carmine also is the owner of Carmine’s Pizza Factory in Jersey City, NJ and shares with Michael & Siler how he struggles and copes with expenses associated with the online ordering platforms that most consumers love.
Nicole Bean is seemingly everywhere right now in the pizza industry? Why? Because she is doing what every good pizza operator should be doing – she is networking, learning, competing, and soaking up the entire pizza industry to make herself a better pizza maker and business owner. She is perfecting her craft, as a wise pizza maker we know likes to say. Nicole and her family own and operate two well know and wildly busy pizzerias in the Houston, TX area named- Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana. Listen in to find out how she and her family grew a passion into a successful business and survived the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and a major civil infrastructure disruption.
Have you heard of Master Pizza yet? You should have by now. Not only is Master Pizza a well known northeast Ohio pizza chain with 11 stores, the Master Pizza team and friends manage the International Pizza Challenge for Pizza Expo each year! This episode Michael and Siler speak with the president of Master Pizza, Jeremy Galvin, about growth and what it takes to operate more than one pizzeria. Jeremy is also a speaker at trade shows and was previously co-owner & C.O.O. of Romeo’s Pizza from 2005-2012, during that time the company exploded from one store in Medina to over 30 locations comprised of company owned locations and franchises across Ohio.
Right in the middle of Silicon Valley, halfway between San Fransisco and San Jose, you will find the city of Los Altos as well as State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria. Michael and Siler chat with Lars Smith, Chef and Co-Owner, of this award winning pizzeria that has gone from zero to a multi-million dollar operation in a very, very short time. Listen in as Lars tells us about how he made the jump from corporate pizza to independent pizza!
Perry Anastasakis and his family have built a successful pizzeria in Bethel, Connecticut where they have been in business since 1982. That makes about 37 years of continuously making great pizza, pleasing customers, making mistakes, learning, and growing. Listen in as Perry tells how he does it.
Minimum wage is not going down, employees are not getting cheaper, and compliance issues are never going to get easier to deal with. So what is a pizza operator supposed to do? Who has time to deal with all of this when a million other things are going on, and customers want pizza right now?! We have found an amazing tool that will revolutionize the way you schedule employees and make compliance easier than ever before. The best part is that it is free, and the premium version is just a few bucks per employee! OpenSimSim is the name of the great app we discovered, and today we sit down and speak to the CEO of OpenSimSim, Roger Avats, to find out more. If you want to get connected with OpenSimSim, visit perfectingpizza.com and click on Free Content to find their page.
Nick and Siler talk with one of the original legends of the pizza industry – John Arena. John is a Brooklyn born pizza maker with over 5 decades of experience. He began his professional career in his family shop in NY in 1967. In 1980 he and his cousin Sam Facchini opened their first Las Vegas pizzeria. Today they operate 6 Metro Pizza locations and a bread bakery.
John is the creator of America’s first 3 credit university level course for aspiring pizza entrepreneurs. He has traveled extensively around the world as a student, guest lecturer, and consultant to the pizza industry. He is a sought after industry spokesman and the staff writer of a monthly column for the pizza industry’s premier trade journal.
A prolific teacher John has introduced thousands of pizza makers of all experience levels to the joy of making pizzas. His students have gone on to open successful pizzerias across the US and in countries including Korea, China, Canada, Pakistan and Brazil. John’s pupils have been awarded dozens of medals in pizza competitions including 3 world championship medals at the International Pizza Expo. He is an active member of the World Pizza Champions team, the most acclaimed group of pizza professionals in the nation.
John has had the privilege of making pizzas for 5 US Presidents and numerous luminaries in the sports and entertainment world and has been a guest on dozens of nationally televised programs.
In 2017 he was part of a 3 man group that led the team that captured the Guinness World Record for the longest pizza ever made. He produced a pizza over 5800 feet long that provided food for dozens of shelters and charities in the Los Angeles area.
Most recently John was a finalist on Food Network’s series Chopped. The episode entitled Pizza Poetry was one of the most popular installments in the show’s history.
Pete Lachapelle is! In this episode, Siler and Nick have a great conversation with Pete about Pizza Expo, where it has been and where it is going.
Here is a little more about Pete – Graduating with a marketing degree from Boston College in 1978, Pete has been in the publishing business since 1979. Having served as publisher on 12 different titles, he has worked for some of the largest trade publishing companies in the country and has focused on the food industry for more than 35 years. He began selling ad space for Bakery Production & Marketing in 1983 and was named publisher in 1988. There, he built the magazine into one of the largest industrial food publications in the country. In 1998, he decided to take on the challenge of redesigning and reorganizing Pizza Today into the magazine you see today. In 2000, Pete was named president of Macfadden Protech LLC, where he was responsible for International Pizza Expo, Pizza Today, the National Association of Pizzeria Operators (NAPO) and the School of Pizzeria Management. Most recently, his group has developed Pizza & Pasta Expo, Int’l Artisan Bakery Expo and Artisan Bakery East and the soon-to-be launched Pizza Expo 365, an online resource platform which will represent the Crossroads of the Industry. Pete is also a founding member of the National Restaurant Association’s Pizzeria Industry Council with the goal of increasing the success rate of independent and multi-unit pizzerias. Today, Pete is the Global Brand Director for Emerald Expositions’ Food Group with the mission to expand the Food Group’s footprint throughout the artisan foodservice community.
In this episode, Siler and Nick speak with Marcus Medina – owner of Hella Pie Pizza Co. He started a mobile wood fired pizzeria in 2017. His company specialized in doing pop up style events at Farmer’s markets and breweries. When Covid-19 hit, the mobile business came to a complete halt so he searched for the right location and deal to open up a brick & mortar. That right location and deal eventually came, and in October 2020 he opened up a take out pizzeria and slice house in his hometown of Tracy, California. Hella Pie Pizza Co. is a family ran pizzeria, respecting the craft of pizza and has a passion for relationships in the community.