Safety Harbors, Florida
The NONA Slice House is named after my two kids Noah and Naomi. It is a slice house concept featuring different, unique and ever rotating varieties of meat and veggie slices. I also serve three styles of pizza: New York, Olde World and Detroit style pan pizza. The NONA Slice House is a wacky mix of pizza, superheroes and New Orleans-inspired decor and menu.
Pizza & Dough:
We feature a 48-hour indirect proof dough using fresh yeast and non-bromated flour for our New York-style classic hand-tossed pizza. Our Olde World-style pizza mimics the Neo-Neapolitan style found in the first pizzerias in the country — very thin and crispy using fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes and finished with fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. Our Detroit style is a 24-hour bulk ferment followed by a 48-hour indirect pan proof. We have a 70-percent hydration on our Detroit dough and par bake the squares and freeze them in order to produce an extremely light, airy and crispy pan pizza. It’s baked in a blue steel pan and lined with Wisconsin brick cheddar cheese.
With multiple pizza styles, what has been key to maintaining quality and consistency with each style?
Educating the staff on what each style is and how it should look and taste is a major key to consistency for us. It helps that all of my pizza cooks are ‘lifers’ with years of experience and passion for the pizza industry. As a team we travel and learn about the history of different pizzas, different techniques on handling the varieties of dough and have experience working with multiple styles of ovens. Maintaining a staff with input and education helps keep consistency because they own a piece of the recipe and take pride in producing the best possible pizza every time.
With a successful Slice of the Day program, what is your strategy to keep it new and interesting while also incorporating fan favorites? What works and what doesn’t?
Our slice of the day program has worked so well because we are adamant that the slices are always unique and creative. This allows myself and the staff to exercise their culinary skills and explore new flavors and ideas they come across. We created a database of 300 slices that we have come up with that we can reference in a pinch. We decide when we run certain slices on guest feedback and seasonality. For instance, we had a guest ask on social media if we were ever going to add lasagna to the menu. Instead of flat out saying ‘No we don’t have pasta’, we created our ‘Garfield’ slice and responded back to them that day we would be running it. We also only feature our ‘Just Peachy’ slice a few days out of the year when we can pick fresh figs on the farm provided by our friends ‘The Honey Couple’. They provide our hot honey here locally. As for what doesn’t work, we’ve found that getting too complicated, where the slices are difficult to explain at the table or on the phone, usually confuses people. Also, repeating the slices too often drops slice sales. We found that not repeating slices for a minimum of five to six weeks leaves the guests craving their return.