Park, Pizza & Cream has great taste in Regent Square location
Point Breeze native Jim Reddy has known the intersection of Forbes and Braddock avenues most of his life. As a boy, he'd bicycle up to the Junction Pharmacy, now long gone, if his parents needed medications. And he could always enjoy the pharmacy's little ice cream fountain.
Reddy is an entrepreneur, who bought his first bar as soon as he was legally able, at 21. He expanded to three locations.
But he always had his eye on the site of Junction Pharmacy. Now he's opened Park, Pizza & Cream there, knowing the location, across the street from the Frick Park playground, is unbeatable.
Intuition isn't enough in business. He found out that 31,000 to 36,000 cars go through the intersection daily. More than 500 people use bus stops on the corner, and 15 school buses stop in front of his business. And there's the people in the park.
Park, Pizza & Cream opened in late October. The weather was beautiful, and his place was jammed. There are three tables inside, more than a dozen outside and still the line was around the block.
The menu features pizza, hoagies, salads and seven varieties of soda. In addition, there are 18 flavors of ice cream, not to mention frozen yogurt, milkshakes and slushies.
Reddy learned the pizza business in high school, when he worked after school at a shop, now closed, in Regent Square. When it was clear in 2012 that he'd be making pizzas again, he called his friend Peter Aiello, with whom he went to Central Catholic High School, to ask to work briefly at his family's well-known pizzeria in Squirrel Hill, just to get flour on his fingers again.
Park, Pizza & Cream sells New York-style slices of pizza for $2, as well as small, large and extra-large pies ($8.50 to $14). Toppings are 50 cents per slice, $1.50 to $2 for pies.
Reddy says he and partner Brian Shipkovitz looked at creating their red pizza “almost like building a house. We went through four or five different recipes for the dough, the foundation, on our own, through trial and error. But we don't make our own dough here, because we don't have the space. The problem with buying dough commercially is most places sell you their recipe, the same as they do to other pizza places. But we found Sunseri Supply in the Strip District allowed us to have input to the recipe and they make it for us. It's fresh, never frozen or shelled.”
Similarly, Reddy found his sauce recipe after trying 15 combinations of different kinds of puree, chunk and stewed tomatoes, as well as spice combinations. He took the advice of his brother, who has a pizza shop in Butler, and gets his cheese from the Grande Cheese Co. in Brownsville, Wisc. For a final touch, he sprinkles pecorino romano cheese on top.
Reddy created a variation on the traditional white pizza, which he calls his Blanca pie because, he's “not a big fan of the butter, olive oil base on most white pizzas. Too oily. We tried out some ricotta, fresh Italian herbs and minced garlic as the base, then added pizza cheese, spices, and fresh mozzarella and tomato on top. It has a nice creamy texture and is, by far, our most popular specialty pizza,” he says.
The other specialty pies are Buffalo Chicken, The Gardener, Two Meat or Not to Meat (half sausage, half meatball), Margherita and Flyin' Hawaiian. They are $11 to $19.
“I make every single thing I make like I was making it for my mother,” he says.
Mark Kanny is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7877.
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