With christmas nearly upon us this throw back thursday, I am reminded very fondly our one year anniversary which happened a few short months ago. Oddly, our christmas tree has been up for over three months now! While christmas is always creeping into the commercial world earlier and earlier, even the giants don't dare start celebrating christmas as early as september. We here at GoreMade Pizza, in all our nonsensical glory, threw what we imagine to be the biggest christmas party that september had ever seen!
Wednesday, September 27th marked one year since we opened our doors here. The fact that it was on a wednesday made it an interesting challenge. How do we throw an awesome party and have people come out to help celebrate... on a WEDNESDAY? In the end, we decided on FREE PIZZA!
With that, it quickly became "Christmas on Wednesday!", and using it as an opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause. The whole shop was decorated in christmas decor, including several christmas trees, christmas lights, ornaments, banners, stockings and the likes. We even had live christmas music and a selection of christmas cocktails, including an amazing egg nog cocktail, "Kenny Noggins"! All in all, it was an amazing event! Our first guests of the day came completely decked out in christmas garb! Once that happened, we knew the day was gonna be awesome!
Why christmas on Wednesday?
Many moons ago, when I was an irresponsible twenty-something, it was always a struggle to hold on to money. I was always late with the rent and never had anything left before payday. One thing we always did was to buy things on sale after holidays, and one of my favorites was purchasing a spiral ham after Easter. They would be dirt cheap, and I'd throw one in the freezer and save it until we had no food or money. Then one random monday in summer, broke and hungry, we'd get the ham out of the freezer on a monday and email all our friends and invite them to christmas on wednesday. We provided the christmas ham, and everyone else would bring a side dish. We'd eat like kings and celebrate christmas without any commercialism. Just friends and food. When we realized that our anniversary was on wednesday, Christmas on Wednesday was the only reasonable response.
So christmas it was. And with christmas, there was the idea of giving. So we decided to give away pizza, and then suggest our customers give as well. When we came upon Urban Farms of Central Ohio, it was clear that we needed to help support their cause. Their ability to help underprivileged communities by supplying fresh food through "pay-what-you-can" farm stands, and their commitment to using abandoned properties for the production of food in said neighborhoods is just brilliant. Education, fresh food, volunteerism, and supporting a better understanding of seasonality and where your food comes from. This is everything we believe in!
By the numbers, here's how Christmas on wednesday worked out.
Pizzas made: 186
Money raised: $789.50 (to be donated on the big give Oct 10th for an even further matching donation) along with 3 canned goods donated by a couple slightly confused customers. To be fair, Christmas on Wednesday (in September, no less) is kind of confusing.
So, in lue of buying pizza, we encouraged donating to Urban Farms of Central Ohio. That night, we raised $789.50 in cash and text donations! You folks Rock!
Along with us giving away pizza, and customers donating to Urban Farms of Central Ohio, Someone also decided to give GoreMade Pizza an amazing gift! Our good friend Ramona Moon delivered the amazing gift of Art Car to our Pizza Patio! The Turkey Toyota, as of monday, September 25th, is now a permanent addition to our whimsical back patio. And with it, a whole new way to enjoy the space. The turkey toyota is 1967 Toyota Corona. She has been the proud owner since 1975. The Turkey Toyota has been in books, movies, parades and all forms of art car celebration in the last 42 years, and now we have the pleasure of being a part of the next chapter! It is a tremendous honor to be the recipient, and we will display it with pride and whimsey for as long as we can!
We also had an amazing amount of our pizza toppings donated to us. Fox Hollow Farm, Blues Creek Meats, Ezzo Sausage Company, Green Edge Garden, Swainway Urban Farm, GoreMade Garden and Sofo Foods all chipped in, making this event possible!
We also had a guest pizza maker. 7 Time olympic pizza champion, member of the U.S. Pizza Team and local legend Ryan LaRose of Leone's Pizza joined us for the entire evening, helping us celebrate our first year and feed our amazing customers. A true pizza people, Ryan was an amazing help, picking up our subtlepizza making differences with grace and ease. He was constantly reminding me to enjoy the event and not work myself away from all the joy we were creating. We couldn't have done it without him! Thanks, buddy!
So, after one year in business, we're still scratching the surface of what it is to be a world-class pizza place. We've learned so much, and still have so much more to learn, as is the entirety of life, I suppose. But it is an honor to have made it this far, and to have the support of an amazing community of farms, food providers, friends, family and customers. We're not planning on going anywhere, so here's to a year, and a hundred more! Thank you, friends!
A boarded up old building has now sprouted windows
and a beautiful awning.
The space has shifted into a mode of construction.
Things are happening!
There's still lots to be done, but we are slowly making some headway on the grand process that is turning an old TV repair shop into a bustling little wood fired pizza shop. The pace is definitely a bit slower than my excited self imagined it a year ago, but this has allowed me to really sink into some details that will really add a lot of character to our humble pizza operation. Soon, things will snowball into a whirlwind, and I'm sure I'll be missing all this free time and wishing I had some more!
First off, I should mention the score! My father-in-law was somewhat of a Renaissance man, and in so, a collector of amazing things was a byproduct of his life. He encouraged me to poke through his "junk" for anything to throw into the pizza project. American pickers would have shit their pants! Mind boggling amounts of interesting things in a disheveled mess of awesome!
We ended up digging around and finding an enormous amount of beautiful wood, stacked to air drying for over 20 years on the second floor of his "shop". There was pretty much an entire walnut tree just hanging out in the corner, along with a ton of other types of wood. I don't know board feet, but it is an amazing amount of awesome wood! He told me to take as much as I wanted.
So now we have wood milled by my father in law, for the bar, benches, shelves and decorations. I'm also teaching myself how to make things. I've started with cheese/charcuterie boards out of some beautifully patterned live edge black walnut. This is my first attempt. It's a bread cutting board I made for my wife, built to fit our homemade pan de mie bread that our family so much enjoys!
I also just took a class on whole hog butchery through The Commissary last week. If you haven't checked the place out, I suggest you do! The class taught us how to break down a half hog, and we were sent home with all the spoils of the class, including a bone saw, boning knife and a whole lotta pork! My oldest son was pretty excited to touch a pig's brain, let me tell you!
I didn't get many pictures, but here's what we started off the class with (a warning for the squeamish, though it may just be too late by this point in the paragraph to avert the eyes).
February 5th, 2015, we connected with a random craigslister about a vacant space at 936 north 4th street. That person turned out to be a long time friend. After around 388 days, we still have yet to open our doors, but the same sense of serendipity has been with us throughout the entire project, Illuminating the way in the darkness. My gut has proven quite a trusted friend, and we've met so many wonderful people along the way. We've still got a long way to go, but I am learning to see the joy in it all. I see this lengthy build-out as a gift. A gift I wanna rip open and cook pizza with! Alas, with all good things comes patience, and I will spend my days making this project ever stronger.
Thanks for sticking with us through it all! It will be my pleasure to serve every one of you amazing pizza people in this amazing space. More as the story unfolds!
It may seem obvious, but the key piece of equipment, the engine of any wood fired pizza shop is the oven. This baby right here, the Mario Acunto Classico 5, is our engine. And it just arrived yesterday.
Well, after years of learning and growing, it's finally time to take GoreMade Pizza to the next level by opening our very first brick and mortar restaurant. If you recall from our first blog post back in 2011, this has been in the works for a long time! We've secured the most awesome of spaces, and I can't believe our luck!
In the long expanse of our culture's history with food, it is only very recently in that timeline that we have had the modern convenience of refrigeration. My grandmother tells stories of purchasing blocks of ice from the local Ice House in town to keep the milk cool for days at a time. Meat was usually only eaten fresh within a few days of slaughter. It was out of necessity that we found ways to make our food last more than the few days before going rancid. Out of this came cured meats!
Modern day meat curing has become more of a flavor enhancer than a way of keeping food for extended periods of time, though that is indeed an added bonus. I first found interest in the art of charcuterie after realizing that cured meats fell well outside of all the food rules I knew. The fact that I can hang a pork belly in my basement for 3 months and then eat it was something I had to better understand. So, around December of 2014, I began to amass the knowledge, equipment and ingredients necessary for some very basic charcuterie.
The beginning of this year's pizza season started off with an interesting event for GoreMade Pizza. One of my ingredient providers needed the use of my wood fired oven for a product demonstration at their annual food show. They had an italian pizza chef (who didn't speak a lick of english) flown in to demonstrate a new kind of flour entering the market. I'm not in the business of renting my oven, so I was hesitant at first. In the end, they hired me and the oven and all was well.
Two years after our first and unsuccessful attempt at winning a pizza competition, GoreMade Pizza is making its second attempt at taking home the gold at the NAPICS Pizza Pizzazz competition.
As documented from the last time I entered this competition in 2012, I was new to the game. I had never sold a pizza and recently purchased a mobile wood fired oven with the hopes of winning some cash to set up my new mobile business. I was up against seventy-something other Pros from around the country who had been making their submissions as regular menu items for a long time, where as I had to make a menu to enter the competition (regular menu items are the only pizzas allowed to be made for the competition). I had to decide my pizza submission within minutes of signing up, which was not wholly ideal.
This time around, I’ve got several years of pizza notes to sift through and a lot of crowd response to boot. I’m entering both the Gourmet and Traditional categories to better my odds of success. Picking the pizzas to enter was still a difficult task.
Another difficulty is that I’ve honed in my pizza making with respect to a high heat environment, from dough recipe to cheese selection. Having to switch from a 900º wood fired oven to a deck oven that will be hundreds of degrees cooler can change things drastically.
My wife is away with our two children the week leading up to the competition, so I’ll be spending a lot of time experimenting with a pizza stone in my home oven. I’ve got to test out some new cheeses and get my pizzas to perfection in a little over a week. Looks like I’ll be eating pizza a lot while they're away! I can think of worse situations to be in.
More as the story unfolds! In the mean time, wish me luck!
When I started this crazy journey to open a pizza business, I was planning on it being a Brick & Mortar restaurant. It was scheduled for an opening date of March 3rd, 2013, and that date was set 5 years ago! A lot has changed since making those plans, but I'm happy to report that on March 12, 2013, after talking with Columbus Public Health for over a year, GoreMade Pizza has officially become a licensed mobile food establishment! (Can I Get A Woop-Woop!?!) The fact that it was 9 days after my target goal set 5 years ago is down right amazing, and just goes to show that it pays to plan ahead!
I have this friend, Heidi, see. And she's amazingly creative and expressive and wonderful and is a very wonderful friend. She makes body puppets and has an amazing business around their creation and expression. For my birthday in July, she gave me a painted card with a coupon on the back good for one pizza body puppet. Of course this is awesomely rad, so I cashed it in and she began her work. I've received various text images on my crappy phone depicting what I can only assume to be the various stages and sketches of creation, but I was still pretty much in the dark about exactly what I would be receiving.
Jump to December, the last pizza sunday of 2012. A friend was going away for the holidays and wanted some deliciousness before his trip, so he sponsored a pizza sunday with all the fixins. Deliciousness ensued.
My amazingly creative and expressive friend Heidi shows up after telling me she was up all night and wouldn't be able to attend the event. While on my mid-cook break, I asked her to tell me about this body puppet she'd been working on for months to get an idea of what exactly to expect. She told me that she has to go to the bathroom, but she'd oblige me as soon as she came back. And oblige me she did!
Happy black friday, ya'll! It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd update you all on what's going on in the world of GoreMade Pizza. Above is an awesome photo by Brian Hockensmith documenting a delicious halloween of pizza.
Many new pieces of equipment are being collected. I've gotten some amazing deals from various places going out of business and awesome craigslist finds. I've bought practically everything used and it's making it possible to grow without any debt building up, which is the only way I'm willing to move forward. There are some really tragic stories attached to these used pieces of equipment, but I'm learning a lot. For instance, never sign a month to month least for a pizza shop unless you've got the money to deal with moving if your landlord sells his property to walmart. But hey, I got some badly needed dough trays for about $400 less than cost out of that one.
Nick Gore was a corporate peon by day who just made the leap to full time pizza geek. Follow his path to world class Pizzaiolo right here on the GoreMade Pizza blog. Also, check out the facebook page.