your-own-pizza selection that includes black olives and Kalamata
olives along with other toppings. Our wood-burning brick oven
allows the olives to maintain their texture while seasoning the
pizza with their flavor.
“At times our guests request green olives as well,” Telushkina
adds. “The olives are commonly used to accentuate our toppings,
which allows a free-for-all suited to the individual customer’s
Southerners like olives, too, not to mention anything deep-
fried. That’s why Pie-Tanza ( pie-tanza.com), a Neapolitan-style
pizzeria with locations in Columbia, South Carolina, and Ar-
lington and Church Falls, Virginia, offers an innovative appe-
tizer called Fried Stuffed Olives, jumbo green olives stuffed with
sweet tomatoes and rich Gorgonzola cheese. Lightly breaded and
dusted with Parmesan cheese, the olives are served with sweet
tomato puree and marinara sauce.
According to Evan Frangos, a marketing specialist at Mario
Camacho Foods in Plant City, Florida, olives have become in-
creasingly popular as high-end starters in American restaurants.
“We’ve noticed that olives are being served more as appetizers
in the European style,” he says. “They will typically be a mix-
ture of Kalamata and green olives, often served on a plate with a
little olive oil and seasonings or paired with sun-dried tomatoes
or various cheeses. And olives packed in pouches without brine
can be eaten as a snack and seasoned with garlic, chili or thyme.
They haven’t made it into restaurants yet, but a lot of hotels and
airlines have been picking them up, and we expect to see them in
restaurants over time.”
Mark Muscoreil, head chef at Vero Amore (veroamorepizza.
com), a Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant in Dove Mountain,
Arizona, also experiments with the salty fruits whenever he can.
“The standard ones we use are Kalamata olives,” Muscoreil says.
“I like their flavor, and I like how they hold up, especially on a
pizza, in a hot oven. I also like their saltiness paired with other
products we use. We have green olives that are a little milder—
CU 29 COPPER BAR & GRILL
28 PMQ Pizza Magazine – The Pizza Industry’s Business Monthly
A pizza offered by CU 29 Copper Bar & Grill in Brooklyn proves that black olives,
green olives and meat toppings can coexist harmoniously on a pizza.
MICHAEL P. MORIARTY
Mark Muscoreil, head chef at Vero Amore in Dove Mountain, Arizona, serves up
a taste of New Orleans with a white pizza that combines Kalamata olives and
sometimes we’ll make a tapenade with green olives and other
specialty olives and add capers and anchovies.”
For a recurring special, Muscoreil developed a white pizza that
combines Kalamata olives and andouille sausage. “I didn’t really
create it for Mardi Gras, but I was going for a Mardi Gras feeling
with it,” he says. “It has an extra-virgin olive oil base with garlic
and Parmesan cheese; we add basil, sliced red onions and feta,
which gives it a sharp saltiness and contrasts with the Kalamata
olives nicely. The saltiness from the olives and cheese help cool
down the andouille sausage a bit. Then we put our housemade
mozzarella on it and finish it with pepperoncini.”
Not everyone cares for a meat-centric pizza, of course, and
some prefer no meat at all. Fortunately, olives work nicely as
a substitute. The popular Veggie Lover’s Pizza at Studio Pizza
( thestudiopizza.com) in Hancock, Michigan, boasts both green
and black olives along with portobello mushrooms, red onions
and green peppers. “Many of our pizzas were developed over the
course of months, even years, but this one was just a spur-of-the-
moment combo early in our history,” says owner Mike Shupe.
“The real reason behind it was to make a true vegetarian meal
out of it, and olives, which are a fairly dense and strongly flavor-
ful topping, go a long way toward making it a meal rather than a
salad on a pizza.”
The versatility of olives appeals to chefs, especially as more
and more customers have adopted a meat-free lifestyle, Chelf
notes. “I’m into good health as much as I’m into the taste of
the food,” she says. “I think good food has to be both tasty and
healthy, and I believe you can have both.
“If someone’s cooking a vegetarian meal, leaving out the meat
and the cheese may not make a satisfying dish,” Chelf adds. “You
still need to get some fat and protein in there. With olives, you
get a healthy fat and a satisfying richness of flavor. You don’t
miss the meat and cheese anymore. Sometimes the simplest
things can be really good.”