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My Turn: James Villas, Cornerstone Pizza, Prospect Park, PA

2011 May: My Turn

Established in 1994, Cornerstone Pizza is owned and operated by my partner, Dave Shearn, and me. Cornerstone is a small delco shop that specializes in pan-baked pizza. On December 28, 2010, I received a call from a customer at the Philadelphia airport. She said, “How fast can you get 50 pizzas to the airport? CanMore »

2011 April: Ground Days

2011 April: Ground Days

Good, old-fashioned hamburger has adorned pizza across America for decades now. Using ground beef is simple, but bear in mind that there are different levels of leanness to consider when purchasing the ingredient. The leaner you go, the more expensive it gets. It’s important to figure out how to cross-utilize all the ingredients on yourMore »

2011 April: I CRY FOR YOU

2011 April: I CRY FOR YOU

While there are many varieties of onions, the four types most commonly used in just about every restaurant are: yellow, Spanish, red and scallions (also know as green onions). When we get into fine-dining restaurants, however, the usage expands to include more exotic onions such as Maui sweet, Vidalia, Walla Walla, cippoline, pearl, shallots andMore »

2011 April: Ask Big Dave

Dave, I just opened my first pizzeria a couple of months ago. Labor has consistently been running between 20-22 percent. At times, I feel short-staffed, but I really can’t afford to hire new help right now until I get sales higher. Do you have any suggestions for me? Is my labor where it should be?More »

2011 March: Commentary

2011 March: Commentary

Pizza is a giving industry. The people behind the pizza business care, and we show it every day in myriad ways. All across the country, pizzerias sponsor Little League baseball teams, Girl Scout troop events, adult volleyball leagues … you name it. Pizza shop owners donate money and gift cards to local fund­raising efforts andMore »

2011 March: My Bad

2011 March: My Bad

We all make mistakes (ever forgot a birthday or anniversary?). Usually we can make amends in some fashion (roses? dinner out?) and life goes on. In the business we are in, mistakes can cause a deeper problem –– like a customer not coming back –– so we strive to get it right the first timeMore »

2011 March: Dough Doctor

2011 March: Dough Doctor

From time to time, I get questions from operators wanting to know what the secret is to making a decent thin-crust or thick-crust pizza. To answer this question, I’d like to share some tips for making both thin- and thick-crust pizzas. Thick-crust pizzas always seem to be a bit problematic for those who haven’t madeMore »

2011 March: Spicy Alternative

2011 March: Spicy Alternative

What exactly is soppressata? In a nutshell, it’s a form of dry- cured salami. A specialty of southern Italy, it is traditionally made using pork (beef is used on occasion). The basic seasonings include cracked red pepper and garlic. Depending on who is making it, some versions are hotter than others (in other words, moreMore »

2011 March: Catering to Kids

2011 March: Catering to Kids

When Ray Perkins, owner of Chubby Ray’s Louisville Pizza Company in Louis­ville, Kentucky, was approached by a group of Girl Scout Brownies to do a pizza workshop for one of their badges, Perkins agreed, even though he’d never really worked with kids before. In fact, his establishment is known more for game day excitement, pokerMore »