There’s never a time of day—or even a day of the year—when you can’t order a fresh, hot pizza from Sarpino’s Pizzeria. Recently, customers around the country have been enjoying a sexy new option: Chicago-style deep-dish, available in both traditional and vegan varieties. “We are always on the lookout to be the next trendsetter,” says Rebecca Kroupa, Sarpino’s director of R&D and operations training. “We saw an opportunity as we expand into new markets to introduce a deep-dish pizza with our unique flavor profile.”
Sarpino’s franchisees have been asking for the menu addition, Kroupa notes, and it’s been in development since 2018. “We wanted to create a deep-dish pizza that would have minimal impact on operations, that was authentic, and a familiar flavor for our customers,” she explains. “We also wanted to be one of the first brands to have a vegan deep-dish to complement our already large vegan menu. I think we succeeded on all fronts.
“We launched this in April, and it’s already nearly 5% of sales in our Chicago market and still growing along with our Florida and Kansas City markets,” Kroupa adds. “Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, and they love our take on deep-dish compared to our competitors.”
Of course, you can’t do deep-dish without nailing the cheese. And a deep-dish pizza made with vegan cheese is hard to come by anywhere. Fortunately, Kroupa’s team didn’t have to look far to find the right product. “We used Daiya Cutting Board Mozzarella Cheeze already, and it performs well in our ovens,” she said. “I think the biggest challenge was getting the ratio of dough to sauce to cheese perfected.”
As for the plant-based proteins, Sarpino’s offers the vegan deep-dish option with Beyond Italian Sausage and Field Roast Plant-Based Pepperoni. “We will soon be adding Sweet Earth Mindful Chik’n as a pilot in our Florida locations,” Kroupa said. As with all of its pizzas, Sarpino’s uses fresh California tomatoes to make its marinara sauce, which, the company says, “greatly reduces the chance of leftovers.”
Sarpino’s has found impressive success already with its full vegan menu featuring specialty pies, calzones, pastas, sandwiches, salads and cheesy breadsticks.