Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development


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Pickles are the “polarizing-to-some-but-beloved-by-others” pizza topping that are popping up on menus nationwide, replacing pineapple at some modern pizza joints. At Happy Joe’s, a pizza and ice cream concept with locations in seven states (plus a few in Egypt), the Super Max pie mashes up Italian pizza with the American cheeseburger, topping the build with ground beef, onions, sliced American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and dill pickles. “Part of our mission is to have a memorable experience with guests, and there’s no better way than adding pickles to our pizza,” says Happy Joe’s CEO and president (and Chief Happiness Officer) Tom Sacco. In Boston, Cuban-inspired Mariel also gives customers a familiar entry point to pickled-topped pizzas with its Cubano Pizza (pictured), boasting a build of roast pork, sweet ham, Gruyère, scallions, cilantro and pickles.

On any pizza menu, there are a few must-haves, “consumers-will-riot-if-we-don’t-offer-them” options: sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, mozarella. But with a dynamic category like pizza, where its popularity demands new builds and constant innovation in order to stand out, a new generation of ingredients and toppings are keeping this Italian favorite fresh and on-trend. Let’s call these the “new classics.” They aren’t on every pizza chain menu (yet), but they are go-tos for hip pizzaiolos crafting unique pies across the country.

About The Author

Mike Kostyo

Mike Kostyo is the VP of Menu Matters. Mike has been a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on NBC News, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” For nearly 11 years, Mike was an associate director and trends expert at one of the industry's largest research firms. He has a master's in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. [email protected]