Conversation with Attilio Guarino, Emma’s Brick Oven, Cranford, NJ

Pizza Today travels to Emma's Brick Oven, Cranford, New JerseyEMMA’S BRICK OVEN PIZZA & CAFÉ
CRANFORD, NEW JERSEY

Owner and Pizza Chef Attilio Guarino opened this suburban pizzeria in 2004. It features a menu of four specialty pizzas and a number of weekly specials, as well as traditional Italian dishes.

Often times I go to bed with a blank piece of paper and pencil next to my bed; sometimes, it’s like BAM —and a new pie is born. All joking aside, my experience in the culinary world has allowed me to pair the right ingredients together to make the perfect pie — that’s what I enjoy most about being a pizza chef.

Every Thursday night, Emma’s serves a new and unique Thin Crust Square. The pie is served dine-in during the hours of 5 p.m. ’til close and well-done only. The Thursday Special Thin Crust Square is marketed on various social media Web sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I owe a great deal of my design work and creative flyers to Tom&Co. of Staten Island. With regard to the photos…let’s just say I have taken up a new hobby.

First and foremost, my love as a pizza chef is creating not only the perfect blend of just the right ingredients, but also creating a great looking Thin Crust Square. Over the years, a customer and now good friend has shared his talent of photography; teaching me all the right angles to get that perfect shot, suiting the perfect Thin Crust Square.

“The Pesto Square” was introduced in 2010, and is still featured as Emma’s “Saturday Night Special.” Diners from the surrounding area come in and enjoy the taste of the fresh basil pesto cream sauce, cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions and Parmigianino Reggiano on Emma’s famous Thin Crust Square. The pie is also served dine-in during the hours of 5 p.m. ’til close and well-done only. There are no substitutions or exceptions to this — as the pie is cooked to perfection and only truly enjoyed eaten hot right out of the brick oven.

Why the square? You know I often have this conversation, and the truth is I really do not have a good answer for you. Every Thin Crust Square is handmade with passion. It’s not a perfect square, nor is it a circle…it is just what has become known as Emma’s famous Thin Crust Square.

I work on a daily basis with my designer Tom&Co. to design new and exciting flyers, which are posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The key thing is to be consistent. Yes, I post many pictures, but it is never done without tact. Each post is scheduled weeks in advance, carefully laying out the designs, posting at just the right time to grab the viewers’ attention and draw them in to dine at Emma’s. It is amazing to see so many people who come to Emma’s to try one of our Thin Crust Squares simply off a post on a social media site.