“Two years ago, maybe 50% of people here in New York
City knew of burrata,” Gentile says. “Now, it’s 80%. And
once people have it, they love it. I’ve never met a person
Gentile imports his burrata from Italy—a potentially
tricky proposition given its notoriously short shelf life—
but thanks to brisk business, regular deliveries and smart
cross-utilization, he’s able to minimize waste and keep
the supply rotating at a fast clip, while maintaining a
28% food cost.
Anderson takes a different approach, staying Stateside
for his high-quality supply. He sources both burrata and
its stracciatella from Maplebrook Farm in Vermont, where
it’s crafted by a Puglia-born maker using local dairy. “We
did a lot of research on various imports, but it’s so perishable that, by the time we got it, it wasn’t at its best,”
Anderson explains. “Of course, it’s an expensive product
—like the steak of cheese—but we’re able to maintain a
30% food cost.” And, he adds, other pizzeria owners can
seek out less-expensive brand names to keep costs lower
for themselves and customers alike.
It also helps that the cheese is a star seller; Anderson
goes through 50 pounds per week of the stracciatella
alone, and he estimates that nine out of 10 customers
order something that features the cheese that dreams are
made of. “Given the name of our restaurant, a lot of
people ask, ‘Who’s Burrata?’” Anderson says, laughing.
“We describe it to customers, but when they take that
first bite, it’s mind-blowing.”
Accordingly, Gentile recommends not tampering too
much with the delicate flavor of burrata; pair it with ingre-
dients that will set it off and let it shine, not interfere with
its integrity. Experts at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing
Board offer up a long list of potential pairings: roasted
peppers, herbs, cured meats, melon, grapes, light wine,
salad, prosciutto crudo, crusty bread, fresh tomato with
olive oil and cracked black pepper, pasta or fresh grilled
vegetables, to name a few. And Anderson advocates seeking seasonal inspiration—in springtime, for example, he’ll
whip up a shaved salad with asparagus and burrata pieces.
“Working with the caviar of cheese, the sky’s the limit,”
he concludes. “It’s just one of those menu items that’s a
trigger; customers see it, and they’ve gotta get it!”
Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor.
“Two years ago, maybe 50%
of people here in New York
City knew of burrata. Now,
it’s 80%. And once people
have it, they love it. I’ve
never met a person who
—MARIO GENTILE, ADORO LEI
Burrata made such an impression on chef and owner Chas Anderson that
he named his business after it, and “the caviar of cheese” is used liberally
throughout his menu.
Know a pizzeria that’s over
50 years old and a pillar of
for inclusion into the
Pizza Hall of Fame!