Conversation with Juli Ghazi, Pure Pizza, Charlotte, NC

2013 March: ConversationPure Pizza
Charlotte, North Carolina
Pure Pizza, a farm-to-table pizzeria opened in Charlotte’s 7th Street Market in May 2012. The location allows Pure to source many of its ingredients at the market.

What makes our pizza healthier is a combination of things. It first starts with the dough we use — our organic ancient grain crust is a nutritionally rich proprietary blend of ancient grains without the added sugar, molasses, high fructose corn syrup or other fillers in a lot of other pizza dough. It’s the pure grains delivered to you in pizza dough form. Since our bodies need good carbohydrates, this dough has been really well received by our diabetic customers.

The sprouted ancient grain is a proprietary blend of grains including, but not limited to, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. It has only a small amount of wheat to provide the gluten necessary to transform it into pizza dough. Because it is only a small percentage of wheat, it tastes nothing like traditional wheat crust. The flavor profile is nutty and earthy and quite unique. The characteristics of the crust are light and airy, thin with the perfect amount of chew and crisp.

We then use an organic, low-sodium tomato sauce and a variety of low-fat cheeses as the base for an unbelievable finished product. Our toppings are sourced through our local farming community or organic grow houses in the Southeast. We believe in supporting agriculture that practices organic and sustainable farming methods. Inherently, it all goes into our bodies — the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones used in most conventional/commercial approaches — therefore we choose to be a part of a healthier solution for our future.

Our current location adds to our mission because we are nestled inside of an urban space — The 7th Street Public Market. We are surrounded by other locally focused food purveyors with a common goal of offering high quality, local and organic foods that focus on our region. It’s a very collaborative space. We are fortunate because we buy from several of the other shopkeepers — things like cheese, produce, bacon, ground beef and olive oil/vinegar. We are a “location within a location” so there are definite pros and cons. We are the benefactor of ambient traffic flow, but then again, we are one of the major drivers of foot traffic within the market.

Because we are a different kind of pizzeria, we really had to make a strong connection with those pizza lovers out there. And, because of our location, we had to establish our own identity. So well before we sold our first pizza, we were social media crazy!

It was a hard sell at first to convince my business partner of the need to hire a professional videographer to film us. But when he saw the first video produced and the response to it from our social media outlets, we were off to the races to produce more. The intention was to create a visual interpretation of Farm-2-Fork. We went on location to a variety of our partners to show who they are and what they do; everything from a mushroom farm, a 40-year organic farm, one of Charlotte’s favorite local breweries and a bee keeper. The followers really connected in a resounding way. We had fans says, “How can I be craving something I’ve never tasted!”