August 1, 2014 |

A Conversation with Brendan Kuhlkin, Millstone, Rock Hill SC

By Pizza Today

Brendan KuhlkinBrendan lets us in on Millstone’s beer offerings and menu pairings

Millstone Pizza + Taphouse  
Rock Hill, South Carolina

Before opening Millstone in 2013, friends Brendan Kuhlkin and David Clapp conducted background research by touring Chicago and New York pizzerias. The restaurant features wood-fired pizzas and craft beer.

The Great Pizza Tour of 2012 was eye opening for us both. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to produce an absolutely authentic, top-of-the-line pizza so we went to New York and Chicago to check out the best they have to offer. In a five-day stretch, we ate pizza from 34 of the best each city has to offer. We definitely enjoyed the style of the Neapolitan pizzerias in NYC the most. As we developed our dough and menu, we definitely used some of their creations as influence. As we were going into a small market with the first Millstone, we wanted to make sure that we brought the most authentic Neopolitan wood-fired pizza experience to Rock Hill, and the Tour was a key piece to us being able to deliver this.

We start with ingredients, follow it with service and round it out with ambiance. We use the best Double Zero flour that exists, pure spring water and cheese and toppings imported directly from Italy. Nothing goes better with a great pizza than a great beer, and we have 40 craft beers on draft to complement any palate. Our service team is trained daily on not only knowledge but also on hospitality, as we want to feel like home away from home to our guests. Top that off with the classic rock-n-roll that plays ‘just a little louder than maybe it should’ and Millstone is unlike any of our competition.

Our pizza menu has a wide variety of unique flavors made from high quality ingredients. By combining our daily-made dough, local goat cheese, in-house pulled buffalo mozzarella, house-made sauces and the best meats available with our ever-rotating 40 tap selection, we provide our guests with an endless amount of pairing opportunities.

We always offer our Classic Margherita with a pilsner and our amazing Funghi with our house-made white sauce with an IPA. The Zoe goes great with a traditional wheat beer. We provide a full training for our staff as far as types of beer and what makes a style of beer. We also bring in brewers from local breweries to give what we call a ‘beer 101’ class. Before the server or bartender can actually work a shift they are giving a lengthy test on craft beer, as well as the fresh food served at Millstone. They must get a perfect score before they hit the floor.

We use heavy social media outreach as well as local market outreach. The beers change very often and we see the best responses and reactions from our guests when we post about these new additions. Additionally, we host frequent beer dinners with local breweries…these have repeatedly proven to be huge hits. In the end, when we excite our guests about the beer program, they are our best marketers as they talk to their friends and family about it.