The creator of the Hibachi Pizza admits it can be hard to convince people to try his labor of love. Brad Corbin, a U.S. Pizza Team member
and owner of Sloopy’s Sports Café (sloopyspizza.
com) in Lakeland, Ohio, concedes that a pizza with
ingredients like yum yum sauce, sauteéd broccoli,
fried rice and sesame seeds doesn’t exactly induce a
mouthwatering reflex in your average salt-of-the-earth upper Midwesterner. But give his multiple
award-winning pie a try and you’ll be hooked for
life, Corbin promises.
“I’m very humbled by the loyalty of my customers
—like one man who drove four hours from Athens,
Ohio, to try the Hibachi because he read an article
about it,” recalls Corbin, who says he is committed
to the pizza business for the long haul. “It’s actually
hard to get people to eat it at first because it sounds
so di;erent. ;ere is no cheese and no red sauce.
But once they try it, they routinely swear
it’s the best pizza they ever ate. I’m trying to
establish specialty gourmet pizza as my niche.
I want to create pies that are so far out of the
box that people ask themselves, ‘Why should
I eat this?’”
Fortunately, Corbin has succeeded spec-
tacularly in getting patrons to take that first
bite. With co-owner John Stephenson, he even
recently opened a takeout and delivery shop in
Port Clinton, only miles away from Sloopy’s
highly popular original Lakeland location. “At
least seven out of 10 pizza orders at the new shop
are for the Hibachi,” Corbin notes, proudly.
A TAKE-NO-PRISONERS ENTREPRENEUR
;e Hibachi is topped with a Japanese creamy sauce
(yum yum sauce), chicken, shrimp, sauteéd broccoli,
The Far East meets the Midwest at Sloopy’s Sports Café in Lakeland, Ohio,
soon to be known as the land of the rising Hibachi pie. By Andy Knef