I am in the minority when I profess my love for deep dish pizza. And it’s near impossible to find a local pizza joint that serves a legitimate one. So when Fresh Brothers started popping up in OC, I made a point of checking them out. What I ended up with was a tasty lunch and the opportunity to interview one of their founders.
As a fan of Chicago-style pizza, I’m wondering why you chose to offer both thin crust and deep dish styles on your menu? Why not just specialize in one?
Pizza is so personal. Everyone likes it their own way. Some people are crazy about deep dish; others not so much. Our customers love to customize their pizzas, so we try to be as flexible as possible. Which is why we offer the deep dish, thin crust, skinny crust and the gluten-free crust.
One stereotype about your industry, and whether it’s true.
It’s not the water. Seriously, it’s not the water that makes pizza great. It’s fresh dough, high quality cheese and the finest ingredients.
What is the story behind the name of the restaurant?
Fresh Brothers refers to both our “fresh” ingredients and the fact that my brother and I work together in our business.
Tell us about your guilty pleasure food.
In general, I don’t eat a lot of pork or beef for health reasons. However, Fresh Brothers Meatball Sliders are my Kryptonite, though. I can’t just eat one!
I heard rumors of an Irvine/Tustin branch in the works. Where and when will we find it opening?
Yes! Our location in the Irvine Market Place will open in September.
Where did you grow up, and where’s home these days?
I grew up in Glenview, Illinois. I currently live in Manhattan Beach.
What is your philosophy on pizza?
Life is too short not to eat pizza.
Last thing you looked up/searched online:
How many people have downloaded the Fresh Brothers app.
Your menu is unique compared to other pizza brands. Tell us about the Fresh Kids special and other menu features.
My wife, Debbie, created The Fresh Kids Special. At the time, our twins were about three, and we struggled (like a lot of parents) to get them to eat their veggies. The Fresh Kids Special has veggies blended into it, so the kids can’t tell, and they think they are eating a regular pizza. Parents know they are getting a stealth serving of veggies!
What made you decide to pursue a career in restaurants? What was the turning point?
In my first career I was a television director and director of photography. At the time, our kids were very little, and I rarely saw them awake. My wife, Debbie, and I always dreamed about bringing my brother Scott’s pizza out to California. He’s been in business 30+ years as a restaurateur in Gary, Indiana. Finally, Debbie and I decided that the time was right, and we created a business plan and found our first location in Manhattan Beach.
Your favorite childhood memory:
Celebrating the holidays at my mom’s house, surrounded by family.
Tell us five memories you will never forget.
- The birth of our twins in 2004.
- Directing the TV show Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, featuring Snoop Dogg on MTV.
- Filming inside a swarm of killer bees while wearing a protective beekeeper’s suit, and still getting stung.
- Winning Pizza Today’s “Independent Pizzeria of the Year”.
- Driving the coast of Northern California with my family and two Newfoundland dogs earlier this summer.
Where would you like to go on your next vacation?
Not sure where, but looking for a location with no cell service and no email.
You’re making breakfast; what are you having?
At our LAX location we serve breakfast pizzas. My favorite is the lox pizza— cream cheese, onions, capers and lox. It’s incredible. One of our customers makes a sunny side up egg served on a slice of the Miller Pizza, reheated (The Miller Pizza features bacon, ham, sausage, pepperoni and ground beef. It’s a beast!).
What is your idea of happiness?
Sundays on the beach, surrounded by my family and friends. Sunset dinner delivered by Fresh Brothers, served on an upside down surfboard. That’s happiness!
Hardest life lesson you’ve learned:
The restaurant business is beyond tough— long hours, and there is never really “down” time. It’s 24/7. You really have to love what you are doing.
What profession would you like to try if you weren’t in this business?
I’d love to be a stay-at-home dad!
Learn about their extensive menu at www.freshbrothers.com.