Today marks Flagstaff pizzeria Pizzicletta's one year anniversary. In honor of the occasion we have an update from the man behind it all, Caleb Schiff. Here he discusses the highs and lows of operation throughout year one, as well as the future outlook for his dream business come reality.
'Building a pIzzeria' on Serious Eats
Caleb Schiff documented his transition from pizza enthusiast to owner and operator of Pizzicletta in the Slice series Building a Pizzeria. In the series, we got to follow along as Caleb transformed his dream into a reality, and in doing so, demonstrated the passion, dedication, and work that goes into such an endeavor. It's always great to get updates from Caleb, and this week we have a very well done short film by a local college student, with Caleb as its focus.
We all followed along as Caleb Schiff built and opened his Flagstaff pizzeria, Pizzicletta. It's been a little more than eight months of wielding the peel and Caleb brings an update on what he's learned about the business, details on his pizzas and menu, wood, dough, and more.
Caleb Schiff has built his pizzeria and has an update from Flagstaff on what the living the dream of Pizzicletta has been like so far.
Building this pizzeria has been a complete whirlwind since June 1, and even as I type this post, my notepad is sitting next to my laptop, yearning for my attention. My apologies to all the Slicer's that have been following along and patiently waiting for my next post, but I should let you know this is very likely my last post before opening day, which is scheduled for... drum roll please, July 5th.
So far I've been telling everyone about some of the major steps and objectives I've accomplished as I open a pizzeria: the local support and lenders, the menu, the oven, the layout, and glimpses of the construction. And now as a businessman, I have to consider how much detail I can and should reveal to all my followers. However, I'm not one that can hide my emotions, as those closest to me could tell you. Making long-term financial commitments to my lenders, committing my foreseeable future to making Pizzicletta successful, and understanding that Pizzicletta and Caleb will soon be an inseparable entity is a HUGE emotional undertaking. The closer these plans come to a reality, the more excited I am for them to be true. At the same time, I am constantly thinking of how I can improve my business model to ensure success.
I believe a successful restaurant is a combination of great food and entertainment, so I consider both. Thankfully for me, wood-fired pizza offers a menu that provides both: when properly executed, the pizza tastes great and the preparation and baking of Neapolitan pizza provides the entertainment. So today I want to take you on a short tour of my space and the surrounding neighborhood.
With less than two months to my pizzeria's opening, I've been incredibly busy! Nonetheless, I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of Pizzicletta. Here's a photo gallery that brings you up to speed on current work and offers some snapshots of things to come.
For this post, I want to discuss the process of developing the menu for my pizzeria and the inspiration behind it. When you come to Pizzicletta, you'll soon realize that through the menu, the space and decor, I am striving for simplicity.
Every aspect of building this pizzeria excites me: talking to my lenders, finishing my floor plan, choosing the lighting, developing the menu, purchasing the mixer. However, perhaps no singular aspect excites me more than purchasing my oven and yesterday, I sent my first wire to a bank in Naples, Italy.
Today I want to go into a bit more detail about how I got to this point and those in my community who have fed my dream of opening my own pizzeria. It has been a bit like those first few minutes of a roller-coaster ride. Although I didn't know it at the time, building my home oven was like clicking down the restraining device. Once constructed, the oven lit something inside of me that I couldn't stop.
On Sunday night, the new NBC reality show "America's Next Great Restaurant" was launched. Coincidentally, this week Slice will be launching a mini-series that tracks my own work towards turning my dream of opening a wood-fired pizzeria into a reality. Thankfully I won't have a quartet of investors from the NBC show breathing down my throat, but with this mini-series, I hope I will receive the sage advice of Slice readers.