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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rick's on Fire: Chatter with the Chef

Hand-ladled ricotta, fresh mozzarella, roasted garlic and rich olive oil… it’s what Rick’s Wood-Fired calls their “Casablanca,” and patrons simply can’t get enough. 

Nestled in the cultural mecca of Woodstock, New York, Rick’s hip & soulful vibe is a local standout. Their unassuming 1890’s exterior doesn’t give the place justice; one step inside, and you’re instantly transported into the eclectic world of Chef Rick, his spirited passion, and his exquisite pizza pies. 


A perfect blend of old and new, the subtle candlelight, retro d├ęcor, and ever-changing music add such life to the space. Picassos line the walls, and Woodstock-themed tunes sing though the speakers. It’s a modern-day chill-out longue…and it’s not to be missed. 



We’re mesmerized with Rick’s Wood-Fired, and couldn’t wait to sit down with Chef Rick himself. He has such a light about him, an obvious fervor that shines through… the mark of a true pizza maker. Below, we thought we’d share some of the highlights from our time with Rick. His words were too fabulous to keep to ourselves. 

1. What separates Rick’s Wood-Fired from other pizzerias? In what way(s) do you stand out?

Well firstly, here in the U.S. I find "pizzeria" often carries the connotation of a being a fast-food establishment...self-serve, walk up to the counter to place your order, available by-the-slice, often pre-made, re-heated, etc., all of which Rick's is not. We are an upscale-looking, full-service, sit down/wait-staffed restaurant, serving wood-fired/brick-oven pizzas, personal-sized, made to order, as in the true tradition of Naples, Italy.

Secondly (most importantly), what separates Rick's is Rick. It is the passion, the love, the care, attention to detail, and great respect for the ingredients (the finest, cost-no-object we can source--including our own house-made mozzarella fresh daily) that I put into each and every pizza I make, that separates Rick's from the vast majority of others.



2. Tell us a little bit about you, Rick. What was your motivation behind opening a pizzeria? 

I spent my entire adult career on the trading floors of the New York commodities markets. Growing up in an Italian family, I have always had an enormous passion for food and cooking. Homemade pizza happened to be one of my particular specialties, from way back before it became a wide-spread, fashionable/trendy thing to do at home. After retiring from trading, I was looking for something else to do, and my brother-in-law Chris came to me with the idea of brick-oven pizza. 

3. We see that many of your menu items have very cool/unique titles. Where does this inspiration come from?

We’re located next to Upstate Films, Woodstock's one and only movie theater, and epicenter of the internationally renowned annual Woodstock Film Festival. We thought it befitting we pay homage to the film industry. It's actually the one task I didn't think I'd be any good at, i.e., coming up with catchy titles, but one day, as if by some form of divine inspiration it all just came to me...just flowed out of me, one after the other. Funny thing...I had the names all picked out so long before we were ready to open our doors that I myself had to keep a menu by my side at first to refer to/remind myself of what ingredients were to go on my own pizza creations!



4. What made you want to bring in the GreenBox and in what way(s) has it changed the pizzeria? How have customers responded?

Eco-minded as I am, I was totally psyched upon first learning of the concept of GreenBox, dating back long before we opened our doors. I was convinced from day one that it was the box we HAD to use for our carry-out pizza. Insofar as our customers are concerned, knowing the mind-set of Woodstock, i.e., its having a disproportionate (thankfully) percentage of eco-conscious population, I was convinced absolutely that GreenBox would be extremely well-received, and indeed it has been. I can't tell you how many of our customers have in fact made it a point to thank us for caring/making this choice!



5. What makes you excited about going to work every morning?

The overwhelmingly positive feedback I receive from our customers on a constant/daily basis. Particularly rewarding is the fact that so much of it is wholly unsolicited...that so many of our wonderful customers graciously volunteer their praises.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Will: Our Co-Founder & Friend, Always

It’s been an incredible year for Ecovention. Mentions of the GreenBox have been ever-present, from talk shows to radio shows, from blogs to beyond. It’s thrilling, humbling, and everything we ever wanted. But through it all… we can’t help but think of Will.

Three years ago this November, we lost our beloved co-founder & GreenBox creator, William Walsh. He was a passionate leader, a caring father, and a forever friend; he was a human being we were lucky to know. His genius was contagious. His smile and wit lit up the room. He was a man with soul, an unwavering spirit, and an unforgettable presence.


The world just hasn’t been the same. We’re missing him always.

But the truth is, he hasn’t left us. With every moment of success & happiness, we feel him. We heard him cheering us on when the GreenBox made headlines in The Huffington Post. We felt his hugs & high-fives when we were featured on segments of The Chew, Rachael Ray & MSNBC. We saw his soulful eyes light up with pride when the GreenBox made waves in Buzzfeed & The LA Times. He’s here, every step of the way, pushing us forward toward his dreams – and ours.


So today, we want to thank him. For the invention he brought to life, for the way he’s changing the world, and for the lives he has touched. He always wanted to make a difference… and we’re immensely proud to be a part of his vision, realized. 

This is only the beginning.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

GreenBox Spotlight: Emily (Loves) Pizza

Over thirteen years ago, Matt & Emily fell in love over pizza. They haven’t looked back since. 

Tucked away in the corner of Brooklyn’s cozy Clinton Hill neighborhood, you’ll find Emily & Matt, their wood-fired pizza, and a welcoming spot that feels like home. You won’t ever want to leave.

Since fate brought them together (over pepperoni & olives), it was only fitting that Matt & Emily start their very own pizzeria. The spot at 919 Fulton Street just felt right, and in January of 2014, “Emily” was born. Emily loves pizza, after all. 


When you stop by Emily, you’ll find Matt in the kitchen, hand-mixing dough and making mozzarella from scratch. The smell of the wood-burning oven fills the cozy space, and exposed-brick lines the walls. The warmth & homeyness is unmistakable…and genuine. 

If you get the chance, Matt’s original "North Maple” is not to be missed. With fontina, mozzarella, Benton’s bacon, toasted pecans and yes – maple syrup, this pie is unlike any other. Similar to the taste of a Belgian waffle, it’s sure to be a standout. 


But of course, the “Emily” is a local go-to. Topped with mozzarella, pistachios, truffle sottocenere & honey, this is pizza you’ll remember for ages. It even took a top spot in AM New York’s “New Pies to Try.” 


Not feelin’ pizza? No problem. The Emmy Burger is to die for: dry aged beef on a pain au lait bun, topped with emmy aioli, charred onions, cornichon & 4-year aged grafton cheddar. A side of crispy, triple-cooked fries have us sold. 


Oh, and before you go, grab a “s’mores calzone” for dessert. No regrets.

While Emily Pizza hasn’t been around for long, their passion for pizza has the deepest of roots – in love & family. They care about the Earth, too, and we were delighted to see that their “pizza doesn’t travel without @greenboxny.”

Pizza, love & a space that feels like home. It’s worth crossing the bridge for.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

GreenBox Spotlight: Pizza Pie-er


Twelve different sauces, four types of crust, over two dozen toppings…and a whole lot of delicious decisions to make. You have arrived at Pizza Pie-er.

With spots in Cambridge, Boston and Providence, Pizza Pie-er’s endless options are changing the way people think about pizza. Gluten-free, multi-grain and whole wheat crust? They've got it. A selection of sauces that will make your head spin – including Cajun, sun-dried pesto and tangy buffalo? Check, check, check.


Here at GreenBox, we’re dying to get our hands on their cilantro pesto sauce: a blend of fresh cilantro, olive oil, Romano, garlic & a hint of jalapeno. Top it off with artichoke hearts, Italian sausage and seasoned spinach, and we’ve got ourselves a perfect pie.

And yes, they even have shrimp. This is magical.

If you’re not in the mood for a traditional pizza pie, don’t you fret. Pizza 
Pie-er comes to the rescue with their “pizza sandwiches”: eggplant parmesan rolls, pizza pockets and ricotta-packed calzones are sure to satisfy. They’ve even got a selection of specialty wraps… the Greek D-liter is calling our name (pure yumminess with freshly chopped garlic, feta cheese, baby spinach, black olives and roasted red peppers).



Just when we thought Pizza Pie-er couldn’t get any better, we caught a glimpse of their “brunch and dessert” pies. It was then and there that we seriously considered transplanting our New York office to Beantown. Locals rave about their dessert calzone – choose your own crust, and have it filled with a succulent blend of strawberries, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. A sweet treat if we’ve ever heard one.


Now that we’re trying to type through the drool, we want to share a heart-warming comment we received from a Pizza Pie-er(er):

“I just got pizza delivered from Pizza Pie-er and they use your "green box ny" pizza box. I had 3 pieces of pizza left and read the instructions for how to fold it into a leftovers box, and it is amazing!!!! I am so impressed and really believe in your product. Great work!” – Rebecca Rhoads

We’re delighted to have the GreenBox at Pizza Pie-er, and feeling giddy over such wonderful comments from fans. You keep us young. ;)



So stop by Pizza Pie-er for one of their extraordinary pies. The combinations are infinite, and your taste buds will thank you. The Earth will thank you, too.