Thin Crust Pizza.
The words conjure up images of good times, friendship, and long strings of melted cheese stretching infinitely thin as you pull a piece away from a common plate that everyone eats from. Pizza wants to be held. You bring it to your mouth and bite down through the cheese and crust with your central incisors, pulling away slowly so as not disrupt the toppings still in your hand, but wanting to pull away faster as the hot cheese hits the roof of your mouth.
Pizza is more than a food – it’s an experience.
About a year and a half ago my wife was diagnosed as having gluten intolerance. Part of that diagnosis means no wheat based products, no breads and no pizza.
Through a Celiac doc friend of my mine we heard that a local restaurant had pizzas that were gluten free. It sounded too good to be true. A pizza that was gluten free and tasted good? We ventured out to try it and lo and behold, it was pretty good!
That was the high point.
Since then, we seldom get the same quality pizza two times in a row. The crust crumbles and breaks and the cheese slides off . It’s almost impossible to eat without a knife and fork. The picture below shows how one pizza fell apart. Not very appetizing to look at, is it?
The service at the restaurant is great. When we get a pizza that isn’t done right the managers are quick to ask if we want another one, or they try and recook the same one (which unfortunately often results in overdone cheese.) They’ve pointed out on multiple occasions the process the pizza goes through. There is one manager who, if he intervenes and walks the pizza through and tweaks the cooking process and the amount of cheese, can create a pizza that pretty much looks and tastes like a pizza. That’s the exception though, not the rule.
The rule is that, even though we’re regulars at this particular restaurant, when the pizza shows up we seldom say anything anymore. It messes up our ability to have a good, spontaneous time. Neither one of us can enjoy our food because one, or both, of us has to wait for the fixed pizza to arrive.
So what’s my point?
With the increase in diagnoses of Celiac or gluten sensitivity, this restaurant had it right. A gluten free pizza was the way to go. What they didn’t totally appreciate was that taste is only part of the pizza equation. Pizza is an experience, and the weak links in the pizza development process impact that experience in an unfortunate way.
It really is a shame.
This restaurant is a fun place -experience is what they actually are all about!
Instead, these glitches have prevented this gluten free pizza from being a delicious experience for the Customer (or for the restaurant!)…
it’s just another gluten free product offering on the menu.