A Q&A with Charles Webb, owner of Hudson & Packard Poughkeepsie, New York
Hudson & Packard is a more slightly upscale Detroit pizzeria. We wanted the customer service to be just as great as the pizza. Somewhere you can go and have great food, conversation and always listen to great music.
Detroit pizza is pretty close to a Sicilian style pizza. It’s light and airy but crispy on the outside. Our dough is above 70-percent hydration, which is where I’d say a good Detroit pizza should be. We’re team King Arthur over here and love their Sir Lancelot flour. The best part of a Detroit though is that cheese going all the way to the edge of the pan and frying as it bakes, as long as you have that I’d say you’re doing great.
We like your style. Tell us about your branding and why it works for you.
We put a lot of thought into our brand and identity and we try our best to stay consistent with that. I wanted something retro and funky and I think we achieved that. All the colors gives us lots to play with whenever we’re advertising or just showing off our brand and food. People seem to love it and it really is different from anything else around us so it helps us stand out as well. It was important to honor where Detroit pizza comes from and tying it into the auto industry with the name just made sense. We get some cool pizza names out of it too, like our Ford Fungi, Cutlass Supreme and Firebird.
What has been key for Hudson & Packard to perform well at pizza competitions?
While we’ve only been to two competitions, we’re still figuring out our identity there and where we really stand amongst the best pizza makers in the country. Having a formal culinary education, I definitely think that works to my benefit. I love taking different cuisines and dishes and trying to make them work on pizza. A lot of the time we get some pretty tasty unique creations and I think that definitely helps to stand out. That’s really what the competitions are about, standing out. And I think as creative as we get we’ll continue to do that moving forward. We’ll keep competing until we come in first place that’s for sure!
(Editor’s Note: Charles competed in the 2023 International Pizza Challenge, taking 3rd Place in the Pan Division.)
Your concept started as a pop-up. How were you able to transition that into a brick-and-mortar location?
The goal of the pop-up was always to get into a brick-and-mortar. I didn’t have a lot of money so I pretty much spent my savings on getting the pop-up going. I managed to have the right people come in one night and it eventually led to them investing in me and my concept. We did the pop-up for about a year until we closed down to move into our space where we operate today. It’s crazy to look back and see how far we’ve come and where we started. The pop-up also generated a huge following so when we opened our BnM right in the middle of Covid it wasn’t nearly as scary.