Vegan Pizza Inspo: Pitfire
At all seven of its SoCal locations, Pitfire Pizza goes the extra mile by making its own cashew-based vegan cheese for a range of artisan pies.
Featured on the Vegan Margherita but easily added to any pie on the menu, housemade cashew-based vegan cheese is one of the most in-demand toppings at Pitfire Pizza. True, Pitfire has seven locations in Southern California—a locale where great vegan food is a must on restaurant menus—but the vegan cheese also aligns with the company’s focus on artisan pizzas and top-quality ingredients.
“Community is a cornerstone to Pitfire’s success and longevity—and, since we operate in Southern California, there is a huge demand for vegan pizzas in our neighborhoods,” explains Jeff Goodman, CEO of American Gonzo Food Corporation, which owns Pitfire and is headquartered in Venice, California. “Our Vegan Margherita is one of our most popular dishes.”
Furthermore, Goodman notes, knowing what goes into its vegan cheese and where it comes from is very important to its SoCal customers, and therefore very important to the pizzeria itself. Previously, the company bought premade vegan cheese, but it “came from a producer we ultimately found to be less than transparent, so we chose to make our own,” Goodman says. “Once we got into the production, we realized that by making our vegan mozzarella in-house, we were also able to customize it to our use and really enhance the quality of our vegan pizzas and overall guest experience.”
The housemade vegan mozz incorporates a bit of soy and cashew milk for a silky smooth texture and creamy consistency. The company prides itself on a production process that allows the cheese to mimic the mouthfeel of fresh mozzarella.
To round out vegans’ menu choices, Pitfire always features six to seven seasonal vegetable dishes that work as appetizers or sides, or can be served together as a Farmer’s Plate entrée—some are already vegan, and the rest are vegetarian and can be modified to be vegan. The pizzeria also serves up five salads that can be vegan-modified, usually just by substituting the cheese. And, because the hand-stretched pizza crust and gluten-free crust are naturally vegan, and Pitfire stocks a premade vegan sausage from Field Roast, most of its specialty pizzas can be modified to be vegan, too.
“Our goal is to exceed our guests’ expectations, and we work hard to cater to people with all types of dietary needs and food preferences,” Goodman concludes. “We also see variety, customization and accommodating modifications as vital components of Pitfire hospitality.”