How did Wood Fired Pizza arrive at Cafe Heavenly
Part of the excitement of operating Cafe Heavenly is discovering something new that might be doable, the next ‘WOW’ at Cafe Heavenly! And again, as it always seems to be, it involves travel, this time to Canada.
All our lives, Kathy and I had heard about Niagara Falls, but never realized just how magnificent it would be. We we looking to get away for a few days (without spending too much money). In August of 2014, we found a very cheap non-stop flight to Buffalo, NY, on Southwest Airlines, and Wow, words can’t really describe Niagara Falls. We were very surprised how close one could get to the water’s edge, just a very few feet before the waters plunged. (Last year, a little boy was tragically swept away in those waters, so hopefully they have taken precautions to keep it safer).
Across the border is the town of ‘Niagara by the Lake’ that is beyond beautiful with the groomed gorgeous flower beds throughout the city.
We decided to rent a car and take the hour and a half drive to Toronto, then continued another hour East of Toronto to a new wine growing area in Prince Edward’s County (not Prince Edward Island on the Atlantic ocean). We’re wine lovers, but can’t now remember exactly how we heard of this area. We probably just thought it would be a nice drive to see the countryside. And it was, but not with famous wineries or wine chateaus found in California or France. No, these were humble properties working hard to make a name for themselves as their wines are quite outstanding.
As we were making our way visiting several on the wineries, a couple of them had outdoor Pizza Ovens with small shaded tables and chairs offering slices of Wood Fired Pizza along with their wines. It was pretty magical as you can see from the photos. No wonder we were ‘smittened’.
We had also considered that another Key Item on our menu might be needed. We were selling so many Lobster Rolls that we wondered if Lobster prices continued to increase (which they did), would our Customers still want them at the higher price? (Remember, we’ll never reduce the quality of our Lobster Rolls - It is what it is).
We returned to New Smyrna Beach wondering if we could duplicate that magical outdoor pizza setting, and began investigating what might be needed and how to design it. We had a small area on the East side our of building that we were using as an outdoor patio and thought that might be perfect. We drew it all up with the needed dimensions and thought it just might work, that is, until a friend of ours said, “What’s the Health department going to say about food being prepared outdoor and uncovered.” We quickly responded that it would not be a problem at all, then realized that it, of course, would be. We were very disappointed for a few days.
Then the idea of, if it can’t be outdoors, why not build it indoors. Ideas cost very little money, but building this project would be costly. If one has unlimited dollars, things are much easier, but that is not the case here at Cafe Heavenly, and has never been. We kept thinking about how this might happen and continued to explore the cost with a newly hired architect and move forward with the expansion for Wood Fired Pizza at Cafe Heavenly.
Having never really done Pizza in our lifetime, much less Wood Fired Pizza, we headed to Denver for Pizza school from the company who arranged our newly purchased 10,000 lb Wood Fired oven from Naples, Italy.
As the new Pizza expansion took hold, many, many problems (opportunities) presented themselves, but we worked through them all.
Ideas sometimes work and sometimes you fall ‘flat on your face’. Your enthusiasm can sometimes overpower reality. Yes, that has happened at Cafe Heavenly. But this time, it worked well, such that our revenues in the evening now exceed our daily revenues, and that used to be the reverse!
Last year, Cafe Heavenly was voted ‘BEST PIZZA’ by the locals, quite an honor for an organization that had never made pizza in the 50 years of restaurant business operations.
We always end with ‘It’s All About The Customer’, and we have been so very fortunate to have a loyal Customer base of over 18,000 developed over our 22 year history.