TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The newly opened PI Craft Fast Fired Pizza Kitchen in the Town of Tonawanda features a variety of specialty pizzas, foccacia sandwiches and chopped salads, but regional manager Jason Singer said the new restaurant isn’t looking to replicate the experience found at a typical Western New York pizzeria.
Whereas many pizzerias may bake their pies for 20 minutes or so in an oven, PI Craft uses a brick oven, making for a crispier slice of pizza.
But they don’t use just any brick oven.
“We have the first fast-fire conveyer brick oven in New York State,” Singer said.
What that means is that instead of a team of cooks or chefs standing around a traditional brick oven constantly turning pizzas as they cook, the conveyor belt pushes the pizza through the 700-degree oven without the need for an overseer.
“The technology came out with bricks that rotate through the oven and we can (cook a pizza) in two and a half minutes,” he said. “And we have it right there on the spot.”
It’s not faster than a traditional brick oven, but it eliminates the need for extra staff to observe the process.
“If you leave (the pizza) in the same spot (in a traditional brick oven) it burns instantly,” Singer said.
So that leaves the staff at PI Craft more time to carefully hand craft each pizza, something that start to finish Singer says takes about six minutes.
The owners, three chefs who own Ember Firewood Grill in Livonia, “want to sell what they sell in their restaurant but they want to do it in six minutes,” Singer said. “People want to eat healthy and they want to east fast and they want it to taste good.”
The restaurant is meant to be a hybrid restaurant of fine-dining cuisine with fast-food speed. As such, the restaurant makes a point to use high-quality, fresh ingredients.