A Conversation with Brandon Case, Peel Wood Fired Pizza

Brandon lets us in on Peel’s menu, customer contributions and its all-purpose 900-degree oven

Peel Wood Fired Pizza
Edwardsville, Illinois

Chefs Brandon Case (left) and Patrick Thirion opened Peel Wood Fired Pizza just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, in 2009. The emphasis here is on culinary creativity.

 

We feel that it is invaluable for both of us to be chefs first and owners second. We feed off of each other’s ideas. And with us working side by side with our staff, it ensures quality and instills a very strong work ethic. We only expect our staff to work as hard as we do.

Presenting our customers with a seasonal menu allows us to bring new ingredients to the menu and take advantage of the local ingredients that are available certain times of the year. It also gives our customers new items to try and feeds our creativity.

Anytime new items are brought to a menu for a short period of time it certainly can affect food cost, but we never want to stop creating and we want to continue offering our customers something new. We both have extensive pastry backgrounds, so offering special desserts to our customers gives us a great opportunity to display the talents we have acquired over the years.

Every month we have a Facebook contest set up where our customers can send their pizza suggestions using six or less ingredients. We then pick the most interesting pizza, and that customer has their pizza run the last week of that month. We have had great response and it really gets our customers involved. They get to feel more of a part of our restaurant.

We developed our menu to work with a wood-fired oven. We wanted to offer a wide variety of items besides pizza, so we had to use our experience and alter our techniques to achieve an exceptional menu. We have not found many limitations with our oven. We quickly figured out where each item that went into the oven cooked the best whether it be pizzas, wings, sandwiches, pastas or shared plate items.

Our oven is self-contained with over three feet of fire brick and multiple slayers of insulation. Our oven is built to run 24 hours a day for thirty years without any fatigue or weakness in the materials. We regularly clean our venting system by a trained professional to ensure proper working order.

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