“We’re naked because we have nothing to hide!”
No, Kevin Brommer is not referring to the inhabitants of a nudist colony. General manager of Naked Pizza at 180 Nassau Street, he is describing the pizza at the popular new eatery. Open November 9, it is rapidly building an enthusiastic client base, all fans of the great-tasting, all-natural pizza, with no preservatives or additives.
“Naked means natural. Our pizza is simply an honest diversity of all-natural whole food ingredients that taste better and are better for you,” explains the Naked Pizza mission statement.
Headquartered in New Orleans, the company was started several years ago, and has recently begun to offer franchises. There are now two in New Jersey, in Princeton and Ewing, both owned by Kathy Vik. She looks forward to this new adventure.
“Now that my kids are grown, I was looking for something to do. I had read about Naked Pizza in the New York Times Magazine. The founders wanted to be involved in healthier options in fast food. I thought that was a great idea.”
She is delighted with the success both of the Nassau Street Naked Pizza and her other franchise in Ewing. The response in both locations has been all she hoped for. Customers are all across the board — high school and college students, families, parents and grandparents.
“We already have regulars,” says Ms. Vik. “In fact, 40 to 50 percent of customers have been here at least once before.”
So what is it that makes this pizza so special?
First, it’s a testament that food can be both healthy and taste great. The emphasis on healthy, chemical-free and preservative-free ingredients is equaled by the company’s ability to create tastes that customers love.
The pizza crust is available in three versions: skinny, traditional, and gluten-free. The first two are made from the “Ancestral Blend” of 10 grains plus prebiotic agave fiber and probiotic (healthful bacteria similar to the ones in yogurt for digestive balance and health).
“Probiotics are beneficial bacteria cultures that enrich your digestive system, help optimize nutrition, promote balance and digestive health,” reports the Naked Pizza company. “A prebiotic is essentially fiber, food for the health-giving bacteria in your gut. Ours is one of the highest quality fibers available, extracted from the ancient blue agave plant, adding a slight trace of sweet without any sugar crash.”
All the ingredients in the pizzas — the tomato sauce, cheese, the vegetables, the meats, etc. are also all natural. “Our cheese has no hormones or antibiotics, and the pepperoni, free of hormones and additives, is USDA-certified,” says Ms. Vik.
Mozzarella, cheddar, and feta cheese are available, and the tomato sauce is also natural — nicely spiced and herbed, with no added sugar or citric acid.
Customers can choose from a variety of flavors and 10-, 12-, and 14-inch sizes. Everything from a traditional tomato and cheese pie to a “Superbiotic” with artichoke, spinach, bell pepper, mushroom, garlic, onion, and cilantro are available.
The “Mediterranean”, second best-seller after the Superbiotic, is filled with artichoke, sun-dried tomato, onion, black olive, and feta cheese.
Other favorites include “Pima,” featuring black beans, jalapeño, cheddar, and chicken; “Omnivore”, with pepperoni, hamburger, bell pepper, mushroom, and black olive; “Farmvil,” with pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, and ham; “Greenhouse,” offering onion, tomato, bell pepper, black olive, and mushroom; and “Ragin’ Cajun,” with sausage, chicken, garlic, bell pepper, and onion.
“You can also customize your own pizza with a variety of our toppings,” adds Mr. Brommer. “The skinny crust is very popular, and we offer the traditional thicker crust, too.”
Also available are spinach salad, “Cheesy Breadstixx” (mozzarella and cheddar, chewy Ancestral Blend snacks with prebiotics and probiotics), and a variety of beverages from the New Jersey-based Boyland Company, including root beer, birch beer, cream soda, Cane cola, and diet cherry, as well as iced tea and bottled water.
Keeping Naked Pizza affordable is important to Ms. Vik. “We paid careful attention to our price range. We wanted our healthy pizza to be affordable to people. A 10-inch tomato and cheese is $6.99 and a 10-inch Superbiotic is $12.99. There are also special offers on Facebook and Twitter.”
Fun and Friendly
Naked Pizza focuses on take-out and delivery (nine minute delivery zone: “We don’t want the pizza to get cold!”). It is also in demand for its catering services. In addition, some customers like to linger by the counter to enjoy their pizza in the colorful pizzeria, with its fun and friendly atmosphere.
She is very proud of the Naked Pizza staff, including Mr. Brommer and assistant manager Martin Hancock. “Also, some of our staff is from Westminster Choir College. They have so much energy, and sometimes they sing!
“Our staff is all cross-trained in customer service and pizza-assembly.”
Ms. Vik is having so much fun, she even hopes there could be more Naked Pizzas in her future. “I strongly believe it is important to give people healthier options in fast food.”
“We’re definitely trying to get the conversation moving in that direction,” adds Mr. Brommer.
Naked Pizza is open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m; Friday and Saturday 11 to 2 a.m.
(609) 924-4700. Website: www.nakedpizza.biz.