Business Builders

Making an Impression

Biggest Pumpkin in Cornwall

To celebrate autumn, pizzeria owner Anthony Scalise enjoys displaying a giant pumpkin roughly the size of an armchair just outside his pizzeria. Staged with hay bales and dried corn stocks, the huge orange squash attracts attention from both curious passers-by and local news crews eager to show “scenes of the season.”

Anthony’s customers are invited to guess its exact weight to win monthly pizza for a year and parents snap photos of their kids with the “Biggest Pumpkin in Cornwall.” At nearly two hundred pounds, giant pumpkins aren’t easy to find (or handle), but Anthony says the resulting excitement has been well worth the effort!

Anthony Scalise, Owner Prima Pizza Cornwall, NY


Basil Window Garden

To deli owner Ross Romaker, nothing enlivens a sauce like the fragrant, mellowing sweetness of freshly-picked basil. That’s why he grows his own in long planter boxes just inside his shop’s windows all year round. Basil plants continue producing tender new leaves for months as long as they aren’t allowed to flower. So Ross’ secret to year-round basil is keeping branch tips clipped and periodically seeding new plants to replace declining older ones.

Not only does Ross enjoy cooking with picked-to-order basil, the brilliant greenery in his window (especially in winter) reminds customers and passers-by of his dedication to fresh flavor!

Ross Romaker, Owner Deli Roma Sun Prairie, WI


“When in Roma”

For travelers who passionately pursue la vera cucina on the road, reliable restaurant recommendations are much appreciated. Because many of his regulars happen to be executives with frequent business in Europe, restaurateur Filippo Russo happily provides guests with a list of his own favorite ristoranti (and hotels) across Italy.

Not only have some of these frequent flyers returned to thank Filippo for his advice, making the list available to guests also subtly reminds them of Filippo’s own dedication to authenticity!

Filippo Russo, Owner DaFilippo Ristorante Somerville, NJ


Widen the Quality Gap

In response to rising food costs, pizzeria owner Rick Rhein has watched several other area restaurants slip while experimenting with cheaper, lesser quality ingredients. That’s when Rick decided that instead of seeking cheaper alternatives, he had far more to gain by further upgrading his own ingredients, thereby widening his food quality advantage vs. lesser quality competitors.

For Rick, reevaluating the quality of his existing ingredients was an eye opener. For example, Rick had long assumed the private label flour he’d been getting from a national distributor was top quality. But when he compared it in a side-by-side cutting against the best manufacturer brands, it wasn’t nearly as good as he remembered. His decision to upgrade his flour became even easier when he learned he was already paying nearly as much for the lesser quality private label as other Distributors were charging for the All Trumps brand.

Rick Rhein, Owner Mama Roberto’s Mentor, OH


Regional Authenticity

Located in Seattle, Perché No? (literally “Why Not?”) is known by loyal clientele for its painstakingly authentic (and delicious) cooking. Chef owner David Kong and his wife Lilly maintain that competitive edge by regularly visiting Italy for weeks at a time to scout exceptional regional recipes.

Their highly effective scouting strategy is simple. Avoiding trendy tourist areas, they eat light meals at three to four restaurants nightly, until finding one they particularly like. Then, by returning for dinner several nights in a row, they gradually get to know the owner. When the proprietors learn that David is an accomplished chef and restaurateur back home, they typically invite him into their kitchen for impromptu tours and cooking lessons!

Not only do the Kongs return to Seattle with delicious discoveries to share with their guests, they also enjoy lasting friendships with many of the restaurateurs they’ve met over the years.

David and Lilly Kong, Owners Perché No? Seattle, WA