Author Topic: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?  (Read 14141 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #50 on: August 26, 2010, 10:24:27 AM »
It looks like Pete Taylor and his Wood Fired Pizza and Wine Bar continue to do very well judging from the Tampa Tribune ranking his gourmet pizzas as #1 in Tampa: http://tboextra.com/content/2010/aug/25/short-list-best-gourmet-pizza/.

Peter


Offline pftaylor

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Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2010, 08:19:30 AM »
Here's wishing pizzamaking members a frightfully Happy Halloween:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftiny.cc%2Foqsdd&h=78cb1
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2011, 06:23:29 PM »
I had the pleasure of speaking recently with Pete Taylor as his Wood-fired Pizza and Wine Bar closes in on two years of operation on June 27. I am pleased to report that Peter is having the time of his life and is loving what he is doing. In fact, as can be seen at his website at http://wood-firedpizza.com/default.aspx, he will soon be opening a second location in downtown St. Petersburg with a new name Pete’s Wood Fired Pizza. If things go well, there may be future expansion of his business and, in this vein, he has been conducting discussions with potential investors with this goal in mind. When I asked him if it was about the money, he said no--it was not about improving his financial condition. He would like to do something that others have not done before. So, he is in a building and collaborative frame of mind but at the same time he wants to have fun and help others to succeed as he succeeds and to give back to the community. He is not interested in a “man and his oven” business model along the lines of a Dom DeMarco or Anthony Mangieri. He respects what they do, but that is not what he wants to do. Peter also mentioned that his best friend, who recenty lost both his wife and his dog, is moving to Florida to help Peter "climb the mountain".

One of the things I have wondered is what he has learned from his almost two years of operation. We spoke at length about this. He said that finding and hiring and retaining good workers has been an ongoing challenge. I thought that he might have talked about the pizza and its critical role in the business. But what most surprised me is that he said that pizza was just a small part of the business. It is an important element, to be sure, but it is not the most important part, at least not in his business. He mentioned that seventy five percent of diners are OK with OK food quality but they will not tolerate poor service or being poorly treated. That was an eye-opener for him. So, Peter has worked very hard on the service and hospitality parts of the business. For example, Peter has set up procedures such that as soon as someone opens the door to his place they are greeted within thirty seconds. Upon seating, drink orders are taken and within thirty seconds to a minute, drinks are on the table, whether it is just water or a $150 bottle of wine. Food is targeted to be on the table within thirty minutes for lunch and forty-five minutes for dinner. Everyone is trained to have this mindset.

Peter also stressed the importance of all of the things that surround the pizza menu. He said that for what he is trying to do it is important to have “killer” appetizers, great homemade desserts and, in his case, good wines and craft beers. He was told by one customer recently that his place has the most comfortable seating of any eating establishment he had ever eaten at. Peter told the customer that he was not trying to turn tables. He wants his customers to be so satisfied with the food and service and enjoy the dining experience that they will want to return to his place over and over again as a destination restaurant. And Peter has not spared the effort on food quality. He makes his own dough (and mostly hand kneaded), based on a natural leavening system (a local species) and long room temperature fermentation, which he believes produces the best tasting crust possible. He also has a farmer who grows a certain type of organic San Marzano tomatoes for him. The basil and oregano are also organic. Peter and his staff make their own mozzarella cheese (they do not use bufala). In many respects, he is doing the sorts of things that Chris Bianco had been doing for years with Pizzeria Bianco.

Peter’s staff, which now numbers eleven people (including two chefs with culinary training but cannot find jobs), fully understand what Peter is trying to do and what he expects of them. There is a lot of cross training. Four of his staff know how to work with the natural starters and there are four staff members who know how to make the dough. The staff also knows how to make the fresh mozzarella cheese. All of this not only allows Peter to focus on the bigger issues of running the business but also ensures that there will not be problems in those areas. One thing they are not allowed to do is to make any changes in the dough or how the pizzas are made. That part is sacred. To paraphrase Peter, his pizzas are one part Neapolitan, one part New York and one part Peter Taylor. They are inseparable. For those who are interested, his Raquel oven has worked out very well.

As one might expect, all of the effort that Peter and his staff have put into the business has not gone unnoticed. The restaurant has been very well received by the community and it gets high marks in reviews by the local media.

Before composing this post, I asked Peter if he minded if I updated the members on his progress. I mentioned that the forum has many members who have developed their pizza making skills to the point where they are so good that they may be on the cusp of opening their own pizza places and might find it helpful to know some of the challenges of opening and running a successful pizza business. He said that he was not expecting that but would be honored if I did that.

Peter

Offline JConk007

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2011, 08:21:41 PM »
Thanks for Posting Peter!
PF Taylor  was an Insipration to me from day 1 ! I remember pouring over Raqeul thread years ago! Did he mention, or did you ask if he still makes each and every pizza from his oven as he did from the get go?
Ok so its a good time to admitt I am one of those members  planning  on opening  a small  Mobile WFO Pizza Business based  my Passion 1st , not really money. (dont get me wrong few $ would not hurt) The Details will be shared shortly on the forum. Spot on comments! One of my primary concerns is also finding the right help who actually "care" enough to "want" to do the right thing and to to make the product I want to put out consistently. Looking for part timers 3-4 days a month may be a problem, no way I am giving up my day job! or just maybe I can get someone really good who is available when not working? I know after doing a party for 90 thats it can be done but its not really a one man band.  My pies are nowhere on the level of Matthew or Dellavechia or countless others on this forum. However my love for good pizza, the  desire to share it , and really just to give it go -win, loose, or draw, are quite strong.   Service - Product - Love
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2011, 06:54:30 AM »
Having had the pleasure of visiting Mr.Taylors establishment, I can attest to his passion, spirit of service and attention to detail, not to mention the high quality of his pizza.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2011, 10:03:41 AM »
Did he mention, or did you ask if he still makes each and every pizza from his oven as he did from the get go?

John,

Interestingly, that was one of the few topics we did not talk about. I always assumed that he made the pizzas but he mentioned that he had contracted bursitis, which he attributed to the rigors of his work, so I would imagine that he has trained others to make pizzas also, just as he has trained his staff to perform other tasks. We did talk, however, about the differences between making pizzas in a home setting, where we are not under pressure, and making pizzas in a place like his. He said that one can actually make a better pizza in a home setting, where we can do most things in a leisurely, controlled manner to produce that perfect pizza. Peter said that in a commercial setting one is unlikely to match that quality when you are making say, 300, pizzas in a day. I think you experienced that phenomenon when you reported recently on one of your catering jobs. I am sure it is hard work.

I wish you the very best with your mobile pizza business and look forward to some of your war stories.

Peter

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2011, 10:27:12 AM »
While I was talking with Peter the other day, our conversation was interrupted by a call from a publisher called Creative Loafing (with operations in four states and DC, including a Tampa publication) that wanted to report on Peter's new location. Peter said that the writeup would be online shortly thereafter. I did a search this morning and found it at http://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2011/05/31/wood-fired-pizza-world-of-beer-plan-neighboring-st-pete-locations. If the collaboration with World of Beer works out at the Tampa location, it would not be unreasonable to expect further such combinations at other locations. As I understand the relationship, Peter will be able to offer beers that World of Beer does not/cannot sell and to sell food to World of Beer patrons (apparently World of Beer cannot prepare food in its kitchen facilities or chooses not to do so).

What I will be most interested in seeing is how a naturally leavened dough translates into several locations. When I asked Peter this question, he felt that he had an extremely robust starter that has not posed any problems for his so far (for example, he has never had to close his place because the dough failed him) but he acknowledged that there may be some challenges in using a naturally leavened dough in multiple locations.

Peter

Offline JConk007

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2011, 11:10:08 PM »
Peter
1st  Thankyou for your wishes
I am really hoping for "Love not War "Stories ;)
Very sorry to here about the bursitis. I have a family history of arthritis, so I am really looking forward to that!
Yes -when there are people lined up 4-5 deep waiting for a pizza it can make for a bit of pressure. I learned at least one or 2 more people would be ideal. But honestly the # 50 looked as good as #3 just took a while also I was not being paid by the pizza and the rent was $0. However I look at it as building the anticipation for that curious mind of whats this really gonna taste like ? Gotta wait to find out, or go and get a dirty water dog  :-D
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #58 on: June 02, 2011, 02:43:51 PM »
Damn, makes me want to just feed my starters this weekend and head back out to his place for a pie, a beer or two and coax him outside to partake in a cigar with me :D

Mark


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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2011, 01:22:55 PM »
There is an interesting article on menu development at Peter Taylor's place, at http://cltampa.com/tampa/forging-dantes-inferno-a-spicy-new-creation-at-wood-fired-pizza/Content?oid=2290087.

Peter

Offline acbova

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #60 on: June 14, 2011, 04:02:56 AM »
My observations,

I think he made all the pies for a while, but now has at least one other making pies most of the time.  Note, I have never gone on any really busy night, so I don't know maybe he has a team then.

I could go for a Raquel now....

Offline BTB

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #61 on: July 09, 2011, 01:12:04 PM »
Peter's version and style of Neapolitan pizza is among the best in the southeast U.S.  Here's a picture of a Pizza Lydia and Pizza Raquel (with sausage added) that we had when we last visited his great restaurant.

                                                                       --BTB

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2011, 02:45:46 PM »
My observations,

I think he made all the pies for a while, but now has at least one other making pies most of the time.  Note, I have never gone on any really busy night, so I don't know maybe he has a team then.

I could go for a Raquel now....

When I was there several months ago he was directing a person at the oven as to how to stretch the dough, dress it, etc...and I need to get back there as well :)

Mark

Offline PennyNC

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2011, 05:24:19 PM »
I've been a lurker for years, but had to finally register just so I can share my visit to Pete's place in Tampa last week.  I had followed his exploits on this forum for quite a while and was eagerly looking forward to meeting him and meeting Raquel as well.  Unfortunately, traffic intervened and I missed Pete at his restaurant.  However, I did get to meet Raquel and she was ever bit as wonderful in person as I had imagined.  We also tried the carnivore with the Sriacha Infused San Marzano Sauce and it rocked!  His staff did a great job and I'm already looking forward to a return trip when I'll hopefully get to meet Pete in person; he called my cell in response to a message I left about reserving two dough balls.  I must tell you that he is a gentleman as well as a fabulous pizzaiolo!


 

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