Heart-shaped pies turn pizza into romantic Valentine’s Day fare
Making dinner reservations or preparing a home-cooked meal for Valentine’s Day can be stressful.
No worries. Numerous area pizzerias will play cupid for you, rolling out a heart-shaped pie that you can share with your sweetheart.
And as Feb. 14 approaches, their phones start ringing.
Holiday pizzas popular
Area pizzerias’ social media sites show a willingness to accommodate requests for pizzas shaped like the Easter Bunny, jack-o-lanterns, shamrocks, footballs and, of course, hearts.
Alexander’s Pizza and Subs in Mt. Pleasant has been making the heart-shaped pies, complete with cupid’s (garlic and butter flavored) arrow, for about four years.
“We get a lot of pre-orders. We progressively sell more every year. Last year we sold around 50,” says Jaydene Nelson, who owns the business with her husband, Tom Nelson.
“Somebody said, ‘Hey, can you make a heart-shaped pizza?’ and we decided to offer it to everybody. Couples will order it for their kids. People will ask for messages on the inside of the box. Sometimes people will surprise someone at work with a pizza,” she says.
The heart-shaped pizzas are available through Feb. 14.
Roberto Provenzano says this will be the third year his Mama P’s Pizza in Delmont offers heart-shaped pizzas to customers.
About four years ago, he says, a customer requested he make a heart-shaped pie for his grandparents’ anniversary, enclose a note and deliver it.
Soon after, Provenzano bought a heart-shaped cookie pan and tried making a pizza crust in it.
“It turned out perfect. I went back and bought more (pans),” he says.
Response to social media posts convinced him there is a market for the special occasion pizzas.
“I’ve had women tagging their men and men tagging their women,” he says.
Christina Gilbert, Provenzano’s fiancee and business partner, came up with the idea of cutting pepperoni into heart shapes as well.
At River City Pizza in Allegheny Township, a last-minute Facebook post last year led to several calls, says manager Jennifer Drenning.
They are back on the menu this year through Feb. 16, Drenning says.
Helping others celebrate
They also partner with Dairy Queen to sell heart-shaped ice cream cake and pizza combos.
“We started about nine years ago, after someone requested one. My husband had made them for me before,” Stefanie Grimm says.
Social media helped popularize the pizzas. Most orders come from men, and some ask the maker to place a special message on the pizza box, Grimm says.
Not just for lovers
Rocco Pifferetti has been offering the special pies since opening Rocco’s Pizzeria in Youngwood in 2006. He makes each one himself, limits the number to 50, and sells them only on Feb. 14.
“People will send them to their kids’ schools. I had one person send one one year to an ex-boyfriend — it was a broken heart (pizza),” he says.
He is sometimes asked to write a message inside the box. “Or we make initials with pepperoni on the heart,” Pifferetti says.
Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse sells heart-shaped pizzas throughout February.
“We call it the ‘month of love,’ owner Nick Bogacz says.
The pies are available at all the Pittsburgh area locations. Customers begin calling for the pizzas long before Valentine’s Day, Bogacz says.
“I think there is a younger crowd who like pizza and beer for Valentine’s Day,” he adds.
But it’s not just starry-eyed couples who place orders. “One guy sent one to his mother,” Bogacz says.
And broken hearts are not just for those who might want to send a message to an ex on the most “coupled up” day of the year.
“We had a guy call up and say he was single for Valentine’s Day and asked for a broken heart pizza,” Bogacz says.
Hmmm. Well, at least he didn’t have to share.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.