Author Topic: The new StrawHat pizza  (Read 3895 times)

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Offline Lydia

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The new StrawHat pizza
« on: February 08, 2012, 04:59:57 PM »
Looks like StrawHat hasn't had any new info for several years. We got a Strawhat in my homwtown a few years ago. Luckily not TOO much has changed.

First off here is a great vid with the current details
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjOKZBct0wM" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjOKZBct0wM</a>


HIghlights

6 cheeses: 1 bin preshredded white cheese, 1 bin preshredded cheese blend and 1 bucket labeled parmesan/romano cheese. Note this has changed from the info posted by elsegundo
 
Straw Hat's six cheeses are: Swiss, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, cheddar, provolone, and mozzarella

see dough ball, folding and sheeting Sommerset sheeter; sheeted 5x, full sheet docked with metal pin docker, skins cut with knife around die.
sauced with a 1/2 - 3/4" boarder.
Baked on aluminum pizza screens in a conveyer oven for 6 minutes 20 seconds.

More details found here:Straw Hat Pizza Is All About Family and Genuine Ingredients  http://www.theshelbyreport.com/2011/10/11/straw-hat-pizza-is-all-about-family-and-genuine-ingredients
Highlights:
Quote
. We’re the only chain that actually grows our own wheat. We have dedicated wheat fields in Idaho that grow our wheat for us. We have dedicated tomato fields in central California that grow all of our tomatoes. Unlike everybody else that would go out and buy commoditized wheat—sometimes they might buy wheat from Nebraska or Kansas or Canada, wherever it was cheapest—for us, you can actually physically go walk through our wheat fields and see the wheat that’s going into Straw Hat pizza. By ¬having the control of the full vertical, from growing to the mill all the way to the restaurants, it actually was able to provide our restaurant operators with cost containment. Over the last two years the cost of our wheat’s only gone up 17 percent vs. a lot of other chains that have been hit with a 50-plus percent increase in the cost. More importantly, it ensures that the ¬quality is there every single time because it’s ¬coming from the exact same wheat fields

Quote
all of our produce is locally grown. Within each one of our restaurants, we work with local produce companies. Instead of going with a master distribution contract, we do that for our dough and for our tomatoes and the staples, but for produce, which goes bad so quickly, we have worked with a number of local produce com¬panies. The people that are in Monterey, Calif., have one produce company, the San Francisco Bay Area has a different produce company

Quote
You come to our pizza, and while our crust is thin, you can actually lift up the pizza and the crust doesn’t deflate on you, which is interesting. It’s a layered crust. It’s still thin, but our process layers it back on itself. I’m not going to say it’s a phyllo dough, but when you layer phyllo dough, it forms this flaky crust and that’s exactly what Straw Hat does. Our process is that we roll the dough back on itself so that it forms layers of flaky crust, but it holds the weight of the pizza so it won’t collapse on it. Number two, we put a ton of toppings on our pizza. One of our most popular is called the Meat-e-or Pizza, and the Meat-e-or’s got 11 different meats and a large weighs 4 pounds. It’s basically topping upon topping upon topping. If you order a pepperoni pizza—and we actually counted this, we bought a Domino’s pizza, a Pizza Hut pizza and compared it to ours—our large pepperoni has 108 slices of pepperoni on it, on¬ ¬average. There is nothing but pepperoni covering pepperoni on it.

Quote
. On a normal large pizza, we use almost a full pound of cheese on it. We use six different cheeses: mozzarella, Monterey jack, provolone, cheddar, Parmesan and romano. So on our large pizza, since it’s almost a complete pound of cheese, you’re looking at about $2.30 per pizza just in cheese............. If you go to a great quality pizzeria in your town and you get a pizza and you pull it apart and the cheese has that great stretch to it and that taste to it and it melts in your mouth, that’s because they’re using real cheese, no different than what you would buy yourself if you went to Whole Foods.


The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 11:40:39 AM »
It's great to see some shots of their actual bulk dough. The straw hat dough look slightly under mixed, which is what I would expect for this style. Shots of the same dough from RT look more developed than this, also at a higher hydration.

The shot of the cheese is interesting. The chesse blend looks like 50% cheddar, but when she makes the pizza they don't show her put it on the pizza. Also when it comes out of the oven, I don't see any cheddar on it as a "topping cheese". They're definitely concealing something here. You can see the Parm and Romano cheese label is covered with tape. Thanks for sharing. Have you had their pizza?

Offline Zing

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 02:03:39 PM »
There was a Straw Hat open from somewhere around August 2011 until the middle of January 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia. It is now closed. Yelp still has reviews posted. Straw Hat's website indicates another will open in Manassas, Virginia soon. Fairfax used a small double decker conveyor oven. One was set for 490 degrees. The other was set for 500 degrees. The layout and furnishings of the store were very similar to that shown in the video linked to in post number 1. The crust was indeed flaky like Shakey's, but not as thin as Shakey's thin crust. The sauce was very complex, with a large number of typical Italian herbs and spices. The cheese was NOT predominately cheddar. The blend was such that one could not pick out individual cheeses. I was looking for a knock-off of Shakey's so I could quit trying to clone Shakey's. This is not close enough to Shakey's, however. Straw Hat does put a huge amount of cheese on their pie. Enclosed are two photos of the eight that I took, including exterior shots that prove there once was a Straw Hat in Virginia. Prices in Virginia were competitive with local places, and cheaper than in California.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 02:06:18 PM by Zing »

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 03:44:02 PM »
I thought that there was very little cheddar on it, the video is just misleading. In the video the employee must be filling up a tub of cheese that is used in the salad bar or something else.

Pizza looks a lot more "deflated" than I remember. I think I can cook better pizza at home! Leaves much to be desired if you're a Shakey's junkie.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 03:45:33 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 08:17:52 PM »
That's cool, Zing.

For a long time I thought Kansas was as far east as Straw Hat Pizza had ever come, but you have shown me that they indeed branched out further, although by your dates this appears to be a more recent development.  I wonder if they are trying to make a big comeback?  I wish I had tried some Straw Hat pizza when they were here in the Kansas City area.  Looks pretty good to me.  :)
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 08:33:47 PM »
Lydia:

Great find on the youtube video.  I guess Straw Hat really is expanding into other parts of the country.  Maybe they will return to my neck of the woods one day.

I am wondering if the cheese blend might have changed from the information that elsegundo provided.  As noted by Petezza and others, chains have a tendency to make changes to their recipes over the years, but generally subtlety over time so the customers rarely notice it.  A prime example to me is Pizza Hut.  If we could time warp a PH pizza from, say, 1975 and pick any PH location today with the same crust and toppings, I would lay big money most anyone would notice a difference.  Hence, I long ago gave up eating anything from PH. :-D  :-D

-ME
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 08:42:28 PM by Mad_Ernie »
Let them eat pizza.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 08:41:53 PM »
From Lydia's link on Straw Hat Pizza:

Quote
The name originally came from, when it was founded in the late ’50s, everybody wore those old-fashioned bow ties and actual straw hats around the restaurant. That name just caught on. But nobody has ever told me why exactly, just that every single picture and everything I’ve seen from the very beginning had everybody wearing straw hats. (In) the old days, Straw Hat Pizza was a wild and crazy place. Everybody came in, it was bench seating, there were banjo players and the oldtime piano players in the restaurants playing every single day. They used to have balloons, lots of games for the kids.

Gee, that sure sounds familiar.  Where do I remember seeing straw hats, bow-ties and banjos before?  ;D ;D ;D
Let them eat pizza.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 11:35:57 PM »
Did some researching on the RT style and found this article on Bill Larson here:

http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/article/107010/Bill-Larson-founder-of-Round-Table-Pizza-dead-at-73

Which states Mr. Larson learned the style from a pizza place in San Mateo. I later found another obituary in which the place was named "Hambones" in Santa Monica, see:

http://www.almanacnews.com/morgue/2000/2000_01_26.pizza.html

Even more searching I found this: http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/history/hillsdale-high-school.htm

Which is someone's recollection of a place called "Hambones" in San Mateo. The description sounds a lot like Shakeys with someone playing piano jazz music. Anyway, either Hambones was a chain and they were in San Mateo and Santa Monica or the almanacnews article has the location incorrect. At any rate, according to that person's recollection the pizza place was in the villa hotel, which was demolished and turned into a retirement apartment living place.

http://www.rent.com/rentals/california/san-jose-south-bay-and-peninsula/san-mateo/the-villa-at-san-mateo/677887/ AND http://www.apartmentlinks.com/apartments/rentals-san-mateo-ca-the-villa-at-san-mateo_677887.htm

Interestingly, the description mentions that the villa hotel was frequented by Hollywood movie stars. So there is perhaps a link to Santa Monica. I looked at the obituaries for Mr. Johnson AKA Shakey himself and could not find any direct history to Bill Larson. I think the link lies with this parlor called Hambones, but that is way before my time and I don't know the history of this place. Anyone?

This all happened well before Straw Hat hit the scene, Bill Larson learned the style from Hambones probably sometime in the late 50's. (Shakey's was already well on it's way).

Then there is this little bit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsula_Banjo_Band of which I am sure Shakey was a big supporter. This group played at Shakey's and Straw Hat. Making these two restaurants probably more linked to each other than RT. Not only did RT have it's own theme, but it's beginnings seem coincidence. I could not find any information on who started Straw Hat, but it shared almost the identical theme with Shakeys but with a more modern twist.

I can see why Shakey chose franchising the brand quickly. It seems everyone was ripping off the style with their own theme. He seemed to put a lot of emphasis on the atmosphere and the experience at the restaurant, not just the taste of the pizza. As for the style itself, this obituary for Mr. Johnson: http://groups.google.com/group/ba.food/msg/a27c389a592c9096 states "They later added pizza, using a recipe Mr. Johnson knew from his childhood, some of which he spent serving as a recipe interpreter between Italian housewives and his mother, who was Swedish"

Clearly the founder of this style and a visionary that created an industry.


Offline Zing

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 08:50:39 AM »
For a long time I thought Kansas was as far east as Straw Hat Pizza had ever come, but you have shown me that they indeed branched out further, although by your dates this appears to be a more recent development.  I wonder if they are trying to make a big comeback?  I wish I had tried some Straw Hat pizza when they were here in the Kansas City area.  Looks pretty good to me.  :)
I did quite a bit of reading about Straw Hat after that visit in December 2011 and it appears Straw Hat is in expansion mode. I don't know why this location closed. Perhaps it was just a test to see if they could stretch the supply chain to within a few miles of the Atlantic Ocean. Roma/Vistar/Performance seemed to be the supplier. The pizza was excellent. The exact address was 11199 Lee Highway, Suite F. There seem to have been a number of pizza joints in that space previously.  The door at the back of the building reads "Luigi's Pizza".

What I don't know is what their profit or loss was. Even though this store fronts US29 in Fairfax, the name means nothing to 98% of the people who drive past there. Right now only the word 'Pizza' remains from the Straw Hat Pizza sign.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2012, 12:34:09 PM »
Perhaps it was just a test to see if they could stretch the supply chain to within a few miles of the Atlantic Ocean.

I think this is exactly the case. When you mention pizza to most folks on the east coast they think NY style. The Straw Hat style is a west coast thing. However it's funny because if you look at "beach" enclaves in and around LA and southern california, say North Beach or Santa Monica, there is a TON of NY style pizza there. Perhaps it's just easier to sell a NY style "by the slice".

BTW - Forget the pizza - there's a pad thai place right next to it!


Offline Lydia

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 01:14:03 PM »
From Lydia's link on Straw Hat Pizza:

Gee, that sure sounds familiar.  Where do I remember seeing straw hats, bow-ties and banjos before?  ;D ;D ;D


a very rencent article explains a bit more on the Straw Hat origins and evolution, plus more insight to how the original CA pizza chains are connected.
http://sanleandro.patch.com/articles/straw-hat-pizza

be sure to check out the photos: I love the one from pizza palace.


Quote
Henderlong and Olson had worked for a regional string of pizza parlors in the Central Valley that went under the name of Me 'N Ed. Davies said the two men decided to think bigger, and set their sites on creating a statewide, possibly nationwide chain.
The San Leandro entrepreneurs took the "straw hat" concept from the head gear worn by employees at Me 'N Ed. They added a few embellishments like putting free Charlie Horses in stores for kids to ride -- and as a way to lure parents (see photo).
The chain, originally called Straw Hat Pizza Supreme, grew in the Bay Area and Northern California.
In the 1980s, Straw Hat Pizza Supreme merged with a Southern California chain called Pizza Palace.
Davies said the combined operation was called Straw Hat Pizza Palace for a while but eventually shortened the name to Straw Hat Pizza.
The company took many other twists and turns along the way.
And the founders actually got out early, selling the business in 1970, according to Henderlong's obituary.


The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 01:16:41 PM »
also catch a few more details from the updated history on the main site http://strawhatpizza.com/m/history.html

Includes hints on tomatoes and flour.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 02:01:50 PM »
 Hope this clears the last of it

Also I cant get the site to open since Me& Eds was taken over by Southcoast Pizza, but this is the quote I have.

Quote
The original Me-n-Ed’s was opened in Sacramento, California, in 1958, and was founded by Russ Johnson (brother of Shakey Johnson of Shakey’s Pizzeria) and Ed Sandlin, hence the name Me (“Russ”) and Ed. Russ and Ed were selling franchises throughout California, as well as owning and operating their own restaurants in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1960, Me-n-Ed’s was selling pizzas from a location on Belmont in the Sunnyside District of Fresno, California, as well as from locations in Hanford and in Orange County, California. From the original three locations, Me-n-Ed’s slowly grew over twenty restaurants by the mid 1980’s. Milano Restaurants International, headquartered in Fresno and still family operated, runs the Company to this day, and now owns, operates and franchises over 50 restaurants located primarily in Central California. But the true success of Me-n-Ed’s lies with the people - the people who work so passionately at making the best pizza around and the guests who so passionately support their efforts. Recognizing early on the importance of giving back to the community that has made them successful, Me-n-Ed’s has led the industry in supporting so many causes - from youth sports teams, community churches and hospitals, schools and colleges. With this kind of commitment to the community and to the industry, the Company and its people have been the recipients of many honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Restaurant Association, Community Service Awards, and Local and National “Best Pizza” awards, along with the respect and admiration of so many families, friends and loyal patrons.

 
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 02:04:27 PM by Lydia »
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2012, 04:22:43 PM »
Great information finds, Lydia.  Thank you!  :)
Let them eat pizza.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2012, 06:20:57 PM »
Fantastic read. That Straw Hat pizza cook's outfit is a dead ringer for the Shakey's theme. So the two are directly linked in a twisted way. I still cannot find a link to RT, perhaps they were college buddies?

More info on Me n eds here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3190/is_34_36/ai_91236625/

Specifically they state their dough takes 3 days to make. Hmmm sounds like a cold ferment to me.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 06:51:53 PM by DNA Dan »

Offline Lydia

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2012, 10:39:48 AM »
I read that page but didn't scroll down for the rest of the info. Thanks!


I have more history and stuff info I've collected on Me & Ed's, but my interest in recreating this pizza is very LOW. I didn't even know about the chain until late 90's and it had already been ruined by that time. But it IS still a Central California Thin Crust.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2012, 04:26:22 PM »
Yea it seems like most of these off shoots varied the dough formulation in one way or another. I mean looking at the latest Straw Hat pics looks like a far cry from original Shakeys. RT is a whole different ball of wax.

Have you tried Me n Eds lately?

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: The new StrawHat pizza
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2012, 12:25:41 PM »
First off here is a great vid with the current details http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjOKZBct0wM

"From the mixer, the dough is carefully prepared and put through a dough shooter a total of five times before it is skillfully dockered to precision thickness."

Really?


 

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