Saturday, February 24, 2024

2009 February: Il Pizzaiolo: 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella

2009 February: Il Pizzaiolo: 3 Tomatoes & a MozzarellaWhen Nancy and Jeff Roskin moved from Connecticut to Scottsdale, Arizona, they felt the pizza of their new dwelling left one thing to be desired. In order that they made their very own.

“We determined to open up as a result of the pizza right here was disgusting,” says Nancy, a straight-talking East Coaster who labored as a paralegal and an inside designer earlier than turning right into a restaurateur. “The meals total was nice, however the pizza wasn’t any good in any respect. The world wanted an excellent pizza restaurant. We didn’t transfer out right here to open a restaurant. We didn’t transfer with that in thoughts.”

In June 2000, 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella was born. Regardless of the actual fact the Roskins didn’t have restaurant possession expertise beneath their belts (Jeff was in actual property, although he had owned companies beforehand), they knew an excellent pizza could be welcome in Scottsdale.

“We employed a marketing consultant to get us began and that was a worthwhile funding,” says Nancy. “And we had a wonderful chef. She was 24 and we obtained her from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. She was a latest graduate and he or she ran the restaurant. She was superior.”

Sadly, the chef grew bored with the lengthy hours this {industry} requires and moved on. “She needed to have a life,” Nancy explains. “It’s the character of this enterprise that you need to work lots of hours, but there’s lots of down time, too. And you need to be right here on nights and weekends and holidays.” “You need to be open when everybody else is off work,” Jeff provides. “That’s some of the diffi cult issues about foodservice.”

Just like the Roskins, the pizza recipe at 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella really got here from Connecticut. Realizing they needed a product much like what they used to eat again on the East Coast, the Roskins determined there was no sense making an attempt to copy a longtime style by means of timeconsuming trial and error. As an alternative, they opted to buy recipes and procedures from a grasp baker in Hartford.

“He helped us create our pizza,” says Jeff. “We paid him $5,000 and he gave us our dough recipe and taught us the right way to make it.” The dough is much from the one factor made in-house. The truth is, other than really boiling down tomatoes into sauce, the whole lot at 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella is scratch made. Positive, it’s labor intensive. Nevertheless it additionally gives the restaurant with a top quality picture and a direct level of distinction from different eateries.

“We actually do make the whole lot in our shops,” Nancy says. “I wouldn’t have it every other approach. We make our personal breads, even: focaccia, sandwich bread, wholewheat crust. All the things. We make our personal cannoli shells, tiramisu and cupcakes, too.”

For the sauce, the three Tomatoes kitchen workers begins with canned crushed tomatoes and makes additions to it from there. “We make two totally different sauces,” says Nancy. “Our Margherita is a conventional sauce and our Neapolitan is a chunkier tomato sauce.”

The menu at 3 Tomatoes covers the bases however is much from exhaustive. As a result of the whole lot is made in home, Jeff says it’s vital to not go overboard with the choices. Too many choices, he explains, would merely be too taxing on the kitchen crew.

“Once we fi rst opened, we didn’t need to have any pasta in any respect,” he says. “We simply needed to do upscale pizza, panini and salads. It’s not likely our focus, and we didn’t essentially have all of the gear to tug off a bigger menu. However we ultimately broke down and created fi ve pastas — they usually all promote very nicely. We additionally do some soups now, too. Do-it-yourself, in fact.”

Provides Nancy: “I’m actually fussy about what I serve. I received’t serve what I received’t eat, and I received’t eat processed meals.” Does the three Tomatoes buyer base know the lengths the Roskins and their workers undergo to menu actually recent meals? “A few of them do,” says Jeff. “The longtime clients who’ve been coming in for years now and who we’ve gotten to know have a fairly good concept.”

Nancy agrees, however provides that “I don’t suppose most of our clients notice the extent of what we undergo, actually. I imply, it’s doable to purchase the whole lot premade and run a restaurant with out ever having to make something your self. It’s disgusting, and there are many locations that try this.”

So, why not inform that “high quality” story on their menus? It’s one thing Jeff admits he’d love to do, however the distinctive bodily dimension of the three Tomatoes menu and the unusually costly menu holders they use leaves little house for something apart from the nuts and bolts of meals gadgets, descriptions and value.

“I’d prefer to be inventive and let individuals know our story,” he says. “And I feel that’s one thing individuals genuinely take pleasure in studying. However we’ve obtained nowhere to place something like that. We paid $50 every for these (menu holders), so we’re going to be utilizing them for fairly a while. Perhaps I’ll do a print out someday to inform our story that approach, one thing I may insert into the menu.”

Nancy says she’d like so as to add extra pastas to the three Tomatoes & a Mozzarella menu as a result of they transfer so nicely. It’s a distinction to the early days of working the restaurant, when America was locked in a short-lived love affair with a low-carbohydrate eating regimen.

“The low-carb craze lasted all of three months,” Nancy laughs. “I’m glad it didn’t go on any longer, as a result of some individuals had been actually moving into it and lots of pizza and pasta eating places obtained anxious. I bear in mind individuals including all kinds of low-carb gadgets to their menu and serving issues like crust-less pizza and sandwiches with no bread. It’s not what we’re about and never the best-tasting factor, so we didn’t get an excessive amount of into it. We added a few issues that may meet that demand if clients requested for it, however that simply wasn’t one thing we had been actually going to get into.”

In the present day, as is at all times the case when the financial system sours, pasta gross sales are robust industry-wide. However don’t search for 3 Tomatoes so as to add a brand new lineup of them any time quickly. There’s that lack of menu house hanging over the Roskins heads. Plus, they need to stick true to their unique streamlined idea. “I so admire In-N-Out Burger for what they’re capable of do,” Nancy says of the West coast chain that gives solely burgers, fries and milkshakes. “They preserve it easy they usually’re unbelievably busy.” 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella is busy as nicely. Moreover the Scottsdale location and one other company-owned retailer in close by Peoria, a franchised retailer in Las Vegas is bustling.

“They’re busy up there in Vegas,” Nancy says. “I assumed it will take just a little longer to construct it up, as a result of they’re in an underdeveloped space. However they’re doing $20,000 per week in gross sales.”

Issues are so good {that a} second Sin Metropolis location will open quickly in North Las Vegas. In the meantime, the Roskins are looking for a purchaser for his or her first franchised location, which opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and did nicely earlier than the franchisee closed it. “It was our fififi rst enterprise into franchising and we’ve discovered quite a bit from it,” says Jeff. “We simply didn’t have the best individual in place. He appeared like an excellent fififififi t, he was younger and ran the shop nicely at first. That retailer had gross sales over $800,000, however he obtained tired of it and needed to maneuver on to one thing else.” The Roskins are able to get that retailer again on line, they usually’re additionally excited to debut a brand new idea they’ve within the works, 3 Tomatoes Pronto. It’s a scaled-down, counterservice model of the prevailing 3 Tomatoes & a Mozzarella model.

“That’s the place the development goes in eating places proper now,” explains Jeff. “It may be constructed out for much less cash, which makes it simpler to franchise or to supply market improvement packages.

Clearly, the much less it prices, the extra you possibly can promote.”

Jeremy White is editor-in-chief at Pizza In the present day.

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