“I like to call it ‘reverse engineering’ our traditional menu,” explains Brian Manning, owner of three Pizza Mia locations spread across the Hudson Valley. He’s describing the one-of-a-kind specialty slices that the pizzeria alternates on a daily basis. Among the creations are pizzas topped with spaghetti and meatballs, garlic knots, jalapeño poppers, mozzarella sticks, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — you name it. If you have a sweet tooth, dessert slices with cannolis, Oreo cookies, Nutella, and s’mores are also offered.
When inspiration strikes, the creation of these wacky slices commences immediately. Employees pick their favorite food and throw it on a slice, hoping customers come back asking for more. By engaging in the creative process, Pizza Mia employees have the opportunity to taste their ideas and learn from it.
Based on the trial and error process, Manning now has a rotation of more than 200 slices that have worked, and about 100 others that have not. Some of the ‘reverse engineering’ shortcomings are Tuscan white bean, garlic, and herbed ricotta pizza; broccoli rabe sausage pizza; and turkey dinner pizza. Apparently customers thought Thanksgiving dinner should stay on the dinner table. “The staff loved it, though!” Manning says.
Customers even have the luxury of joining the fun by suggesting their own ideas and watching it come to life. Who knows? Your pizza creation may even become a bestseller.