This week’s guest is Cary Kemp, Owner of Pizzeria 22 in the Admiral District or West Seattle. Pizzeria 22 is West Seattle’s first Neapolitan style, wood-fired, thin crust pizzeria. Cary traveled to and lived in Naples, Italy for sometime, along with his friend and colleague, Mike MCConnell (of Seattle’s Cafe Vita fame) to learn and study how to make amazing Neapolitan pizza and bring it back to Seattle.
Highlights From This Episode:
- What do you love most about what you do? Being part of the community and being able to participate in community charity events like the annual Taste of West Seattle,happing May 25th, 2017 (Taste of West Seattle is a fundraiser event for the West Seattle Helpline – listen to WS Helpline’s Executive Director, Chris Langeler’s podcast interview on Episode 26)
- What was most surprising or unexpected with opening your own business? Wasn’t expecting to be as busy right away, as they were… and credits the West Seattle Blog in helping build the interest and anticipation prior to Pizzeria 22’s opening.
- What is your biggest challenge now? Staffing is the on-going challenge. It seems like these days, it’s hard just to get applicants to show up for their scheduled interviews. There is also so many restaurants out there that it can be difficult get and keep good employees.
- What set’s you apart from other Neapolitan pizzeria’s in the area? Cary created his own menu that offers some less traditional toping options and doesn’t make the pizza as “wet” as most traditional Neapolitan pizzas are (doesn’t put on as much sauce and strains the fresh mozzarella to drain some of the water from it).
- What is the best advice you have ever received? One of Cary’s mentors is Vince Mottola (who started and owns Pizzeria Pulcinella on Rainier Ave). Vince’s dad started the famous South End Vince’s Restaurants in 1957 (Burien, Federal Way and Renton). Cary helped Vince open Pizzeria Pulcinella and when Cary started Pizzeria 22, Vince told Cary that success in business “is not a sprint, it’s a marathon”… you have to make decisions based on the long term.
- Parting Guidance – “It’s ok to send it back”. In the days of yelp and other online reviews… if you ever have a bad dinning experience, it’s way more helpful to raise the issue at the time and give the restaurant an opportunity to correct the issue. Rather then the increasingly more common method of posting a nasty review on multiple sites or smearing the businesses name online or starting a campaign against going to a restaurant without even letting the business know and giving them the chance to make it right.
Episode Links & Resources:
- Guest’s Website: Pizzeria22.com
- Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pizzeria-22-Ventidue-139885352731246/
- Learn more about Christian, other projects he’s working on and his business at: www.Sea-Town.com