Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Build Good Pizza and They Will Come

Build good pizza and they will come… even the U.S. President.  Just ask Chris Sommers of Pi Pizzeria based in St. Louis Missouri.   That’s just what happened back in 2008, when Obama was passing through on his campaign trail.  The advance team had ordered carryout from Pi and when Obama tasted it he proclaimed it to be the best pizza he’d ever eaten. 

Obama talked so much about “that pizza in St. Louis,” in fact, that when he became President, his assistant, Reggie Love, called in May 2009 and invited the Pi team to the White House to “satiate their cravings” (in the words of Sommers).

Pi attributes the success of its pizza to the quality of its ingredients.  The restaurant’s thin crust dough is always vegan and their deep-dish crust pizza is vegan, on request.  Gluten-free crust made from rice flour tapioca flour, potato starch, egg whites, olive oil, vegetable oil and water is also on the menu as is vegan cheese and vegan meats.

Pi is also committed to creating ecologically sustainable, “environmentally benign” restaurants.  90% of the restaurant’s materials, including art, furniture and flooring, are reclaimed and only 25% of its waste goes to landfill.  And Pi was the first restaurant in St. Louis to adopt the 100% recycled multifunctional GreenBox pizza box.  Sommers involves his restaurant in Earth Day too, with a focus on developing a green restaurant division for the organization.

So what has Sommers been up to since 2008?  He opened a Pi restaurant in Washington, D.C., of course!  Not to mention three more stores in the St. Louis area as well as a couple of roaming pizza trucks.  He also did some catering recently for the President’s recent campaign fundraiser in the St. Louis area, a nice by-product of producing quality pizza.

So build good pizza and they will come… Oh, and don’t be afraid to create some hype about it.  Chris Sommers wasn’t, as evidenced by his multiple television appearances and press mentions… not to mention his 2008 launch of election win pizza, the Broccoli O'Bama.

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