November 12th, 2018

What is Jersey Style Pizza?

Posted in Trends

Seriously, Explain Jersey Style Pizza

Recently, at a food show, I overheard a group of people discussing pizza trends and how we should be on the lookout for “Jersey style pizza.” Now, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the term, but really didn’t have a good grasp of what it meant. So, I asked.

New Jersey Style Pizza
Photo courtesy of Thedailymeal.com

What I received as response, aside from a hearty chuckle (inside joke I suppose), was “it depends on who you ask.” That answer, I felt, was unsatisfactory, so I decided to investigate for myself.

When I started researching Jersey style pizza, I came across quite a few differing opinions (many laced with sarcasm) of what it actually was. So, in retrospect, the depends on who you ask comment had some truth to it.

But, within those opinions, I was also able to stitch together the most common characteristics of the Jersey style of pie.

1. It’s All in the Name

While I was hearing and looking for “Jersey style pizza,” that’s not necessarily the moniker it goes by. This is probably the biggest reason why there are so many concepts of what the pizza is.

The more apt name for the Jersey style pizza  is “Tomato Pie,” or, the “Trenton Tomato Pie.” There’s a very specific reason for this title.

2. Order of Ingredients

Trenton Tomato Pie
Photo courtesy of Pizzatoday.com

We’re all familiar with the standard order of pizza ingredients, which goes like this: Crust – Sauce – Cheese – Toppings (of course there are variations, but for the sake of argument let’s just follow this example).

But for the Trenton Tomato Pie, the order is as follows: Crust – Cheese – Toppings – Sauce. Yep, sauce on top, which, for pizza aficionados everywhere, may sound familiar.

Chicago Stuffed and Detroit style pizzas also tend to feature the sauce resting on top of the other ingredients. Which is why the crust becomes important.

3. It’s What’s Underneath that Counts

The last deciding factor for Jersey sty–err–Trenton Tomato Pies that matters is the crust.

Unlike Chicago Stuffed and Detroit style pizzas, the Tomato Pie features a thin crust. Now, don’t think of it as a crispy, wafer-like thin crust you might be accustomed to, but more of a pliable, chewy style, similar to a New York or Neapolitan style crust.

Trenton Tomato Pie
Photo courtesy of 1000degrees.com

And finally, the shape matters. Tomato Pies keep the classic round shape, rather than adopting the square shape of Sicilian or the oblong style of New Haven pies. These characteristics in combination are what makes the pie unique among its brethren.

Put it all Together

Alright, so now that we have all the information let’s put it together.

Q: What is New Jersey Style Pizza?

A:

  • First, it’s called a Trenton Tomato Pie or Tomato Pie.
  • Second, it’s got the sauce on top.
  • Third, it’s a thin, chewy, round crust.

And there you have it, at least, as far as I can tell.

I want to hear from you though. If you are from Jersey, in Jersey, or just love Jersey and have some additional input on this subject leave a comment. I’d like to know if this amalgamation of information is an accurate representation of your state’s pie.

Cheers!

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August 27th, 2018

2018 Pizza Industry Review – Pt. 2

Posted in Consumer Trends, Pizza, Product Innovation, Restaurants, Trends

Enhanced ordering, & new menu items

Catch-Up

Welcome back friends. Let’s do a quick catch-up session here.

Last blog we talked about the 2018 Pizza Industry, focusing on consumer preferences (convenience, quality, affordability), national chain vs. independent restaurant stats, and international growth.

Today, we’ll cover new menu trends and enhanced ordering with a spotlight on new tech.

Menu Trends

2018 is the year of personalization. Customers are looking for unique toppings, signature pies, and the ability to make whatever wacky concoction pops into their mind (looking at you, unicorn pizza). This has led to an expansion in toppings held on the line for many restaurants (think Brussels sprouts, clams, and brisket).

2018 Pizza Trends

Photo Courtesy of Teen Vogue

This love for customization is also a contributing factor to the success of fast casual pizza restaurants like Blaze and Mod. Additionally, these restaurants are quite popular with guests looking for healthier options or suffering from allergies and intolerances. They have many offerings to help avoid triggers and amp up the health quotient while still creating a delicious personal pie.

Finally, Detroit style pizza has found a proper following and is trickling across the nation. Most major cities now offer Detroit style, which is a deep dish pizza made in a rectangular pan. Its caramelized edges and thick, chewy dough have been turning heads and gaining a stable of fans for good reason.

Enhanced Ordering

As we discussed in the consumer needs section on the previous post, technology and ordering convenience are major factors in the customer’s restaurant choice. With 69% of internet users choosing the online ordering option per Emarketer, it’s imperative for pizza restaurants to not only adopt this measure, but make it convenient and easy as well.

pexels-photo-280453

Hand in hand with ease of ordering is efficient delivery. Customers want a fresh, hot pizza delivered to them within minutes of submitting the order, and, as it turns out, they prefer that delivery to be directly from the restaurant, rather than a third party service like GrubHub or DoorDash.

Pizza restaurants are also looking into new technology to help with faster delivery. Domino’s, for example, has developed proprietary technology that allows consumers to order pizza in multiple convenient ways (including through Twitter, Zero-Click ordering, the AnyWare app, and into the future with natural voice). They’ve even gone as far as to commission a line of automated vehicles complete with built-in pizza ovens that will be capable of baking a freshly made pizza en route to your home.

Conclusion

2018 Pizza Trends

That’s a wrap for the 2018 Pizza Industry Review. With all that’s happening around technological innovation, I can’t wait to see what the landscape looks like for 2019.

Be sure to comment about what you’ve seen or anticipate seeing in the future of pizza. The only limit is your imagination (see: Unicorn Pizza…).

Cheers!

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August 13th, 2018

2018 Pizza Industry Review – Pt. 1

Posted in Food Trends, news, Pizza

Customization, Tech, & Speed lead 2018 Pizza Trends

2018 aims to be a benchmark year for the pizza industry. Data is showing a rise in the US and global pizza market, along with an increase in average unit sales for the top 50 chains. All while this is happening, the number of US pizzerias has actually fallen for a net loss of roughly 299 establishments. More people are ordering pizza more often from less overall places. Sounds like the market is refining itself.

Pizza trends 2018

But let’s take a deep dive into the pizza market and how we can anticipate what comes next. This will be part one of a two-part series, covering topics including consumer needs, headline news, the international market, menu trends, ordering practices, and, of course, the best technology company that sells pizzas.

So what is driving the pizza industry?

Consumer Preferences

Convenience is key when it comes to consumer needs. Pizza companies are really starting to understand this by offering many convenient ways to place orders. Through websites, social media, various online ordering mediums, and specialized delivery tech., consumers literally have pizza at their fingertips anytime, anywhere.

2018 Pizza Trends

Without quality, however, convenience is rendered meaningless. Consumers still consider quality a primary driver when making their decision on where to buy a pie. Quality can carry a very subjective meaning though. What one person considers a trait of quality others may not, which is one reason there’s so much room to play in the pizza sandbox.

And finally, we can’t talk about consumer needs without discussing cost. As Americans dine out more and more often, they find themselves watching the cost of meals more closely. While most consumers are willing to pay a premium for artisan and specialty pizzas, they expect to pay “reasonable” prices for the more standardized items.

National News

Pizza loves to take the headlines, and 2018 will be no different. According to Business Insider, fast-casual pizza was the fastest growing segment in 2017 with no sight of slowing down. As it happens, Blaze Pizza holds the #1 position for fastest growing restaurant chain in the U.S.

Fast Casual Pizza 2018

We are also observing excellent growth via sales increases in the industry. North American chain restaurants have reported a growth of 5.83%, while independent restaurants have grown 2.65% per Euromotor. This shouldn’t worry independents too much, as consumers still often choose them over chains for reasons including community involvement, personalized service, and having shared customer values.

International Growth

Across the globe pizza is becoming a staple of the diet for many different cultures. It’s becoming especially popular in places like Africa and the Middle East. Euromotor has shown a growth from $4.29 billion in sales in 2015 to $4.66 billion in 2016.

Pizza Industry Trends 2018

Pizza Hut has noticed this growth and the potential in these markets. In Pakistan alone The Hut has planned to double its restaurants to over 150 in the next 5 years. These cultures view Western foods like pizza as a status symbol, leaving a rare opportunity for a company to initiate new levels of brand loyalty globally.

Conclusion

That’s quite a bit of info to absorb in one day. Check back the week after next for Part 2 of our 2018 Pizza Industry Review series.

Cheers!

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August 21st, 2017

Food Truck Series: Via 313

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Food Trucks, Restaurants, Trailer/Street Foods, Trends

Via 313 Pizza

Pizza Trends

Pizza is a staple food of life, I think we can all agree on that. No matter your preference or dietary restrictions, someone out there has made a pretty darn good pizza just for you.

One of the true beauties of pizza is its different adaptations. Thin crust, thick crust, white pizza, flatbread, Mexican style, Korean BBQ, New York, Chicago, deconstructed; the list can go on and on.

After seeing a rise in the popularity of Detroit style pizza, we here at Culinary Culture decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what it’s all about. And what better place to find out then the rapidly expanding pizza truck turned brick and mortar restaurant here in Austin, Via 313.

Detroit Style Pizza

The first question to answer was, “what is Detroit style pizza?” Via 313 owner Brandon Hunt was kind enough to answer that question in an interview with Austin Eater. In his description, Detroit style pizza refers to a square pie, cooked in pans that are actually used in automotive plants for spare parts, caramelized cheese crusts, and a generous pour of sauce on top of the pizza when finished.

The second question is, “is it any good?” After tasting the Detroiter, a pie made with smoked pepperoni under the cheese and natural casing pepperoni atop, the Smokey, made with Black’s brisket and tangy BBQ sauce, and the Rocket (my favorite), stacked with hot Sopressatta, arugula, and shaved Parmesan, I can emphatically say yes. Very good.

The caramelized cheese around the crust stands out with both great texture and flavor. The crust is thick and crispy on the outside, but chewy in the middle. It’s very filling but a little oily for my preference. Via 313’s red sauce was a standout though. Vibrant red, fresh tasting, and filled with herbs. It complimented the pies well and something about having it on top cleans the palate between bites.

I’m officially on board with Detroit style pizza.

Detroit Pizza

If your splitting hairs, the location I visited technically isn’t a food truck. But since it began as a food truck, and this location is much closer to me then where the truck resides, I hope you’ll overlook this.

Thanks for reading along, now get out there and eat!

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December 17th, 2010

Road Food

Posted in Travel

What is road food?  This term can mean so many different things to so many people.  To some it may mean a large, specific fast food chain, often more than once daily.  To others it may mean finding something quick to eat wherever and whenever they can while they’re on the go; between flights, on your way to the airport, to the rental car place, or to and from work.  Road food can be driving around San Diego on a Monday night trying to decide which place will disappoint you the least.  And yet others may take it upon themselves to find the out-of-the way barbecue joints or the homegrown burger stops.  You can find good road food (and bad), in spots all over the country.  Small towns, roadside food stands, highway rest stops and airports are all good candidates for road food gems.  Read more »

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May 21st, 2010

Portable in Portland

Posted in About Allison, food tours, Trailer/Street Foods, Travel

What makes a meal memorable?  The atmosphere, the flavors, the presentation?  For me all of these things, but what is most important is the people you share the meal with.  The stories behind the chefs or purveyors dishing up the food are fascinating to me, as they are often as unusual and varied as the meals themselves. 

Read more »

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March 26th, 2010

Pizza Expo 2010

Posted in About Allison, Food Shows, Travel

Viva Las Vegas!  I headed off to the sparkling city of Las Vegas for the Pizza Expo, which was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 1-4, 2010.  The show is the perfect size, small enough to walk the whole floor, absorbing all the new products and sampling new ingredients, but large enough to bring the industry’s best.  This is also always a great opportunity to try new restaurants, and this year – with the explosion of “mixologists” hitting the scene – maybe an interesting cocktail or two. 

Read more »

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