MANILA, December 30, 2005 (STAR) By Joseph O. Cortes - If you think you’ve tried all pizzas, think again. Brooklyn Pizza, which offers delivery services in the Alabang-BF Parañaque and Makati areas, offers authentic New York-style pizzas that are slices above the rest.

Picture this: an 18-inch-wide pizza made of hand-tossed dough, spread with generous ladles of special tomato sauce, and generous toppings of mozzarella cheese. And that’s just the plain pizza. Pizza lovers have nine other varieties to choose from to give them a total pie – make that pizza – experience.

Brooklyn Pizza founder George Kho says he became a convert of New York-style pizzas when he had his first bite of it in the Big Apple. After a bite at Ray’s Pizza, one of the more popular pizzerias in NYC, he found himself in pizza heaven.

"I fell in love with it," he remembers. "It was different from all the other pizzas I’ve tried. And I’ve tried lots of pizzas."

Trust a businessman to think of ways to bring home a winning idea. Kho found someone in the States who could teach him the basics of pizza making. Armed with this knowledge, he returned to the Philippines and started kneading pizza dough.

"It’s hard work, you know," he says. "The secret to a good pizza is in the dough and the sauce."

He formulated his own pizza sauce and different flavor varieties. Two-and-a-half years ago, he opened his first pizza joint in BF Parañaque and called it Brooklyn Pizza.

Many diners used to fast-food pizza will find Brooklyn’s pizzas a totally different dining experience. The slices are huge; a whole pizza comes with eight slices, which are quite filling. The crust is medium, not too thick nor too thin. Fresh from the oven, it is crispy; when cold, it turns soft. But that’s nothing, really. Just slip it in the oven again and after a few minutes, it’s as good as when you bought it.

"Our dough reheats very well," Kho explains. "That comes with the hand tossing. Unlike most pizza crusts that are simply rolled out, the tossing gives it a crisp and chewy texture."

Aside from the plain or cheese pizza, other Brooklyn Pizza varieties are: White Pizza (mozzarella, Parmesan, and ricotta cheeses); pepperoni; sausage, and mushroom; Porko (Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, and bacon); deluxe (Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, bacon, black olives, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms); pepperoni and mushroom; anchovy and garlic; tomato and garlic; and vegetarian (black olives, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes). Diners may also customize their pizzas with extra toppings.

If you’re in a hurry to try Brooklyn Pizza’s 10 flavors, do not fret. It has the perfect solution in its four-in-one and half-in-half pizzas. You can choose anywhere from two to four pizza flavors and have all of it in one pizza. If you don’t think you can eat that much pizza in one go, you can also order by the slice. You can have as little as four slices per order, each slice in a different flavor. How’s that for pizza heaven?

Kho started in the pizza business in a simple way. After formulating his pizza secrets, he tried selling his pizzas at the bazaars in Ayala-Alabang. The pizzas were cooked on site, and their delicious smell made them big hits.

"We got so many inquiries as to if we delivered in the Alabang area or whether we had a pizzeria in the area," he says. "Many of those first customers have stayed on with us through all these years."

Pizzas are delivered anywhere within 30 to 45 minutes. "It really depends on the rush," he explains. "But we’re pretty good at telling you how long it will take us to deliver your pizza. If it’s going to take an hour, we won’t lie to our customers about it."

Brooklyn Pizza may have just two outlets now, but Kho says the company plans to be more aggressive next year. New branches will be opening in Better Living in Bicutan and the Ortigas Business District.

"We are still a small company. We want to take things slowly. We plan to set up more delivery outlets as we continue to build the brand," he explains. "We used to deliver our pizzas in plain unlabeled boxes. But we realized we have to invest in our brand. That’s why we now have our own boxes."

The Makati branch only delivers, although customers can drop by and personally order their pizzas. The BF Parañaque outlet delivers, but it also has a little dining area where guests can feast on their pizzas. Many families drop by to watch the restaurant crew toss the pizza dough in the air.

And here’s more great pizza news. At least five more pizza flavors will be introduced next year.

"In New York, some pizzerias offer only four flavors at most. And they have loyal clients who come just for those," he explains. "But here in the Philippines, that’s not possible. You have to have as many flavors as possible, because they are always looking for something new."

Kho believes there is still a need to educate the market about pizzas. "They need to be taught what a pizza should taste like," he says. "It’s not just something we can have for merienda. We are actually busiest from 3 p.m. onwards. Many of our regular customers now have pizzas for dinner or midnight snack."

Now, that’s a lot of pizzas.

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Brooklyn Pizza has branches at 15 President Ave., Tahanan Village, Parañaque City and delivers in the Alabang and BF Parañaque (775-7575) area. In Makati City, it is located at 1176-C Chino Roces Ave. (Pasong Tamo), Brgy. San Antonio, Makati City (896-9696). It delivers from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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