Industry News | August 6, 2015 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Pie in the Sky

image used with permission.

As pizza concepts continue to saturate the market, it can be difficult for brands to stand out among their competitors. Posh Tomato, a family-owned concept based in Brooklyn, New York, has two distinguishing factors going for it: a crust even thinner than the standard Neapolitan and an exceptional origin story.

When brothers Morris, Solomon, and Ike Sarway decided to start a pizza business together, they asked themselves where they had had the best slice. Surprisingly enough, Morris Sarway says it was a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in Amsterdam run by a third-generation Italian pizza maker. Sarway says that the crust was so thin that it was almost cracker-like.

After tracking down the name of the restaurant and realizing that he and the owner had a mutual contact, Sarway phoned him.

“He basically said no and then hung up. And I just bugged the hell out of him for a week,” Sarway says with a laugh. “I called him like 10 times and finally he’s like, ‘You relentless American, if you come with money in hand, I’ll sell you the recipe.’”

And that is exactly what Sarway did. Beyond acquiring half the recipe, he also spent two weeks with the owner learning pizza-making techniques. Upon returning to the states, the brothers tweaked the recipe and made the crust even thinner. They also ordered five to six European-style electric-brick ovens to test their creations.

Sarway says that whereas a standard 20-inch pizza yields about 4 ounces of dough per slice, Posh Tomato’s 12-inch personal pies uses only 3.17 ounces total.

“We look at our dough, our crust, as almost a method of delivery,” Sarway says. He adds that other brands bulk up the crust and overload it with sauce and cheese. Posh Tomato’s slices are so thin that they can be eaten like a sandwich. “People eat it either as a pizza [or] they fold it in half and they just bite all into it and get a luscious mouth feel.”

The Sarways also added some American flourishes to the menu. Beyond classic Italian iterations on the menu, like the two margaritas and the Bianca, Posh Tomato serves four “Lean and Green” pies featuring salads on top, as well as heartier variations like the Meatball or the 3 Little Piggies, featuring the house sauce, cheese blend, peperoni, capicolla, and bacon.

The dessert section includes cheesecake, peanut butter and jelly, and chocolate-marshmallow pizzas.

“We saw our dough as being versatile enough that when we put sweet flavors onto it, we are able to get this crunchy, delivery-oriented product that allowed us to mold into sweet after we’d done savory,” Sarway says.

Currently totaling four stores—all franchised—in the greater New York Tristate area, the Sarways designed Posh Tomato in a way suited for franchise growth. Sarway says they have also received inquiries from potential partners in California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois.

For now, all locations make weekly pickups to Brooklyn for that airy thin crust.


By Nicole Duncan

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