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  • Restaurant Mascots: The Public Faces Of Pizza

    There are many ways to make a name for your restaurant, and one of them is a mascot. With the right strategy, a mascot can work wonders for your brand identity. Other times, it might not have such favorable results. Read on to learn about the most famous mascots in the pizza industry.

    Pizza, Pizza!

    Little Caesar – the mascot for Little Caesars, suitably enough – has been an integral part of the company’s marketing campaign for years. Little Caesars ceased television campaigns for some time in the late 90s, but in recent years, the company has found their way back onto the tube with advertisements featuring their beloved mascot, toga and all.

    Avoid The Noid

    Domino’s once had a notable mascot, too. The mascot, which took the form of a troll-like, humanoid creature in a rabbit costume, was named The Noid – based on the word “annoyed.” Commercials featuring The Noid were played throughout the 80s, where the mascot would do his best to ruin pies ordered by Domino’s customers. Despite his best efforts, Domino’s always prevailed.

    Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

    First appearing in animatronic form in Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre in the late 1970s, the Chuck E. Cheese mascot, who was originally a rat, was eventually redeveloped into the mousey entertainer familiar across the nation today. He received another makeover in 2012, resulting in an edgier, rock star-oriented look and a new voice provided by Jaret Reddick, lead vocalist for the pop-punk band, Bowling For Soup.

    Gear Up For Success

    Could your pizzeria benefit from a mascot? Before you start brainstorming potential mascot ideas, be sure to outfit your restaurant with high-quality, up-to-date gear from Northern Pizza Equipment. Peruse our products or get in touch today to learn more.

  • Homemade Pizzas: Take Your Work With You

    It’s a sunny summer evening, and your family is ravenous. You had cheeseburgers a couple nights ago – so what do you do? You make pizza, of course. While it might be nice to step away from the restaurant for a bit of relaxation, you’ll never escape your appreciation for a well-made pizza pie. Here’s how you can make the most of pizza night at home.

    Choose Your Crust

    As a seasoned pizzaiolo, you’re aware that there are many crust styles to choose from. If your pizzeria specializes in New York-style thin crust pizza, for example, consider changing things up at home with thicker Sicilian-style crust. Alternatively, take a traditional route with Neapolitan crust, which tends to be thin, crispy and simple to make.

    Experiment With Sauces

    Your signature pizzas probably rely on a house sauce comprised of specific ingredients. At home, you’re free to change things as you please – you just have to keep your family interested. One popular sauce replacement is pesto. Whether you mix it yourself or purchase it from a grocer, this tasty sauce is right at home with standard pizza toppings. For a more unique, yet equally simple choice, spread hummus across your dough and top it with feta cheese and fresh veggies.

    Try New Toppings

    Is your family tired of by-the-book pies? Mix things up by trying new toppings. One surefire hit is taco pizza – replace sauce with salsa, use a cheddar/jack cheese blend and finish the pie with diced tomatoes, sliced olives and green onions. Or, try a loaded baked potato pizza, which typically involves a sour cream-based sauce and toppings of cheese, sliced potatoes and bacon.

    Push The Boundaries

    Remember – when it comes to homemade pizza, the only limit is your imagination. If you think you’ve found your next bestseller, make sure your restaurant is prepared to churn out pie after pie with gear from Northern Pizza Equipment. Get in touch to learn more about all that we have to offer.


  • Italia And Americana: A Pizza Comparison

    Originating from the Italian city of Naples, pizza found its way into the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. As pizza shops began to pop up in New York City and along the East Coast, the original recipe was modified and Americanized. Although Italian pizza has remained fairly unchanged since its conception, pizza in the U.S. deviates significantly from its Neapolitan ancestor. Keep reading to learn the differences between Italian and American pizza.

    Laying The Groundwork

    Like in the U.S., Italian pizzas are made from a wide variety of crusts. From thick to thin, pizza crusts in Italy traditionally take on traits from the region they’re conceived, and the dough is cooked in a brick oven. America, too, has many styles of crust to choose from, including flatbread, deep-dish and New York-style. However, American pizzas are often cooked in conveyor, gas or electric ovens in commercial pizzerias.

    How Americans And Italians Top It Off

    In Italia, pizza artisans pride themselves on using fresh ingredients. From real tomatoes and mozzarella to olive oil and garden-fresh basil leaves, garlic and oregano, these fresh, herby fixings complement the crust. And when it comes to toppings, mixing meats is often seen as taboo, so pizza makers will employ only one kind of meat or none at all.

    On the other hand, U.S. pizza makers typically use a slow-cooked tomato sauce bursting with flavor from ingredients, like butter, onions, basil, oregano and sometimes sugar. After laying down the base, toppings are added – and usually lots of them. In America, you’re likely to find a host of meaty fixings, from sausage and pepperoni to ground beef and bacon, and other toppings, such as pineapple, black olives and green peppers.

    Whether you’re cooking up traditional Italian pizza or devising a dish of your own creation, Northern Pizza Equipment, Inc. has all the pizza gear you need. Browse our catalog or contact us today to learn about our equipment, parts and supplies.

  • Little Plastic Table: The Mystery Of The Pizza Saver

    The pizza saver has been used for decades, but no one ever seems entirely clear about what it is or what function it serves. Does this pint-size table hold the slices together? What the pizza saver actually does is prevent the lid from sagging down onto the pizza; mystery solved.

    When a piping-hot pie is packaged and sent out for delivery, sometimes, the steam builds up inside and causes the cardboard to wilt. As a result, the lid sags down and makes a gooey mess out of the cheese and toppings. No hungry customer wants to receive a pizza, only to discover that the best part is stuck to the lid. In the 1980s, one New Yorker decided to do something about it.

    Origins Of The Pizza Saver

    On February 10, 1983, a Long Island woman named Carmela Vitale filed a patent for a temperature-resistant, plastic tripod. Thus, the “package saver,” or pizza saver, was born. It’s designed to fit in the middle of the pie to protect the toppings in case the box starts to sag. Vitale’s concept was approved on February 12, 1985. Since then, manufacturers have been producing millions of pizza savers – otherwise known as box tents – for pizza delivery shops everywhere. Similar designs are even used in cake and cupcake boxes, too.

    The Pizza Saver Today

    Despite being overlooked so frequently, this three-legged piece of plastic is the unsung hero of the pizza delivery business. Just as corrugated boxes, heat racks and heat bags help keep pies fresh, the pizza saver is often just as important. Plus, they’re an inexpensive, effective way to make sure the toppings stay intact during the delivery process.

    For more delivery solutions, check out the assortment of delivery supplies and accessories at Northern Pizza Equipment, Inc.

  • Sweet Treat: Dessert Pizza Ideas

    Cheese, tomato sauce, select seasonings and perhaps a bit of pepperoni – the perfect pizza? Maybe. But pizza isn’t just a tasty main course – there are plenty of ways to whip up sweet pies that are sure to please. Read on to discover five unique ideas for dessert pizzas.

    • Fruit pizza: You may have tried fruit pizza, but thanks to the variety of fruits available at most markets, it’s easy to work a new twist into this classic idea. Start with a sugar cookie crust, slather it with cream cheese frosting and then add your favorite fruity toppings.
    • Cinnamon roll pizza: This scrumptious concoction, inspired by a beloved dessert, is a guaranteed hit. Start with your favorite pizza dough recipe, and then mix up a cinnamon sugar spread. Work this across the top of the dough, and then drizzle with cream cheese glaze.
    • Peanut butter cup pizza: Please chocolate fanatics and peanut butter addicts alike by covering a pizza crust with melted chocolate and sprinkling chopped peanut butter cups across its surface. Chopped peanuts and peanut butter topping make for impeccable finishing touches.
    • Caramel apple pizza: Need a seasonal dessert for your autumn menu? Caramel apple pizza should serve you well. Mix up a cookie crust, concoct a spread – perhaps including peanut butter and cream cheese – and then cover the creation with sliced apples. Top it off with drizzled caramel and pecans.
    • S’mores pizza: Inspired by the fireside essential, this dessert typically features a cookie crust covered with chocolate chips, marshmallows and crumbled graham crackers. If you’d like to up the sweetness factor even more, finish the pizza with a chocolate or marshmallow topping.

    These mouthwatering desserts are sure to entice your guests while lending a unique touch to your menu. And remember – if you’re in need of parts, equipment or accessories for your pizzeria, Northern Pizza Equipment can provide you with the necessary gear. Browse our products or contact us to learn more.

  • Keep It Clean: 5 Kitchen Hygiene Tips

    Opening your own pizzeria? You’ll need a plan to keep your quarters as clean as can be. Unsafe food prep and unclean premises could lead to hefty fees or even permanent closure. Read on to learn how to exercise good kitchen hygiene.

    1. Enforce personal hygiene rules. Many personal hygiene rules are simple concepts, such as frequent hand-washing for at least 20 seconds per wash. Nonetheless, they should be rigidly enforced in the kitchen. When creating restaurant policies, make sure to remind your staff to report symptoms of potentially spreadable illness immediately.
    2. Sanitize your food contact surfaces. Make certain you’re using safe, effective cleaning supplies to rid your property of pathogens, and take special care to train your employees how to clean appropriately. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using these cleaners.
    3. Keep your equipment clean. Your kitchen equipment is just as crucial as your employees’ hands and your food contact surfaces. If it touches food, it absolutely needs to be sanitized thoroughly and routinely.
    4. Avoid cross contamination. Allowing the juices or residue of certain foods – raw meats, especially – to touch other foods means that if one product is contaminated, the rest are, too. Train your employees to wash their hands, wear new gloves and carefully clean food contact surfaces after handling raw meats, poultry and seafood.
    5. Store food properly. Always store raw meats on the bottom shelf. As previously mentioned, they must be kept separate from other foods. Additionally, research the food you’re storing before stowing it in your refrigerator – you’ll want to be aware of safe storage temperatures for different types of food.

    By taking these pointers into consideration, you’ll be well on your way to serving your signature pies in the safest way possible. But remember – this isn’t a comprehensive plan. Ensure total cleanliness before you start dishing out slices to the public. Whether you’re an industry newbie or a veteran pizzaiolo, Northern Pizza Equipment has the gear you need for success. Browse our product selection or contact us to learn more.

  • The Great Debate: The Pineapple-On-Pizza Argument

    Human history has seen many great debates, covering topics from the nature of the universe to whether or not extraterrestrial beings exist. But one question continues to make waves, particularly in the pizza industry: does pineapple belong on pizza?

    But before we explore both sides of the issue, it’s worth discussing where the idea to put pineapple on pizza came from. While the origins of Hawaiian pizza can’t be proven, Canadian chef, Sam Panopoulos, claims to have discovered the topping combination of ham and pineapple while experimenting at Satellite Restaurant in the early 1960s. At the time, pizza was just gaining traction in Canada, so experimentation with toppings was uncommon. But Panopoulos’s use of pineapple clearly went over well, developing international fame over time and eventually leading to the great debate of today.

    The Debaters

    Anti-Pineapple On Pizza

    There are many high-profile figures who seem to share a strong distaste for the idea of pineapple on pizza. Among these figures is Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, president of Iceland, who humorously explained to a curious student that he was “fundamentally opposed” to the concept. This comment triggered ferocious arguments across social media.

    Celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, also had a few choice words directed at those who think pineapple belongs on pizza, explaining that, “you don’t put [expletive] pineapple on pizza.” As a definitive pop culture figure in the food industry, this opinion certainly carries weight.

    Pro-Pineapple On Pizza

    While it faces much opposition, pineapple certainly has its fair share of notable proponents who view it as a perfectly plausible pizza topping. One of these figures is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who sent out a Tweet siding with “TeamPineapple,” and stating that he, “stands behind this delicious Southwestern Ontario creation.”

    A poll by Public Policy Polling found that a significant portion of Americans are in agreement with Trudeau. The poll, which allowed voters to choose whether they approve, disapprove or aren’t sure about pineapple on pizza, closed with a result of 47% in favor of the fruit’s use as a topping. On the other hand, 32% wholly disapproved. But the tables could someday turn, as a whopping 20% voted that they were uncertain about the topping.

    Which Do You Choose?

    There are plenty of reasons to love pineapple on pizza – its juiciness and delicious flavor are often noted. But there are just as many reasons to join the opposite team. Whether the stringy texture or the contrast of sweet and savory turns you off, you’re certainly not alone in believing that pineapple isn’t a valid pizza topping. Whatever your opinion, make sure that your pizzeria is outfitted with the equipment you need to make each and every pizza as delicious as can be, whether it’s covered in pineapple or not. Browse Northern Pizza Equipment, Inc.’s catalog, or get in touch with us today to learn about the top-tier pizza gear that we provide.

  • Early Days Of Pizza Making

    In this day and age, pizza is a globally famed food served with a plethora of toppings in too many forms to count. But as with any dish, pizza underwent many significant changes before becoming what it is today. So, exactly when and where did pizza begin?

    The Days Of Yore

    Early forms of pizza have apparently been eaten for centuries, so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the idea originated. Most sources seem to agree that the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and other Middle Eastern civilizations all enjoyed variants of the dish, confirming its inspirations to be over a thousand years old. But rather than being covered with the tasty tomato sauce and cheese of modern times, these primitive pizzas were usually topped with oils, spices and dates. This dish, which likely served as the inspiration for the modern pizza pie, is now known as focaccia.

    Getting Saucy

    Eventually, in the early to mid 16th century, the tomato was introduced to Europe from its original home in the Americas. Working-class citizens of Naples began adding the fruit to their spice- and cheese-covered dough for an affordable, yet filling, meal, and this recipe brought the world one step closer to the pizzas of today.

    By the end of the 19th century, pizza had become quite the phenomenon in Italy, and what is often considered pizza’s true international breakthrough occurred in 1889. As the story goes, Italian chef Raffaele Esposito whipped up a pizza for Queen Margherita of Savoy, with Italian flag-inspired colors provided by the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil used in its preparation. Though pizza had garnered a reputation as a meal for the poor, the queen allegedly adored the meal, helping elevate its reputation around the world as Pizza Margherita.

    Pizza In The Americas

    Pizza made its way to the United States by way of Italian immigrants around the same time that Queen Margherita was presented with her pie. The first officially licensed pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi’s, saw its birth in 1905 in New York City, where it still operates. Other notable establishments also sprang up in the next few decades, including Totonno’s on Coney Island, Mario’s in the Bronx and Pepe’s in New Haven.

    By the late 1940s, in the wake of World War II, pizza was climbing the tiers of popularity as a food dish in the United States. Pizza was increasingly seen in the hands of celebrities and mentioned in songs. This popularity led to even more experimentation and expansion, eventually leading us to the booming, multibillion-dollar pizza industry of today.

    Write Your Own Story

    Interested in inserting your name into the annals of pizza history? Northern Pizza Equipment, Inc. has all of the pizzeria gear that you need to make it happen. Contact us today to learn more, or browse our catalog to discover all that we have to offer.

  • Most Expensive Pizzas

    Pizza can feed many mouths without breaking the bank, so it’s no surprise that families around the world see it as an affordable, go-to meal option. But that’s not to say there aren’t high-end options out there. Read on to learn about some of the priciest pies ever created.

    Breaking Records

    Gordon Ramsay has become a household name thanks to his appearances on a variety of culinary TV shows. A certain pizza sold at Ramsay’s Maze Restaurant, located in London, has also garnered quite a reputation. Declared by Guinness World Records to be the most expensive pizza commercially available, this luxe pie’s starting price is £100 (about $125). This already considerable cost can increase, too, based on the amount of Italian white truffle shavings used as a garnish. It’s worth noting that these white truffles are valued at roughly $2,500 per kilogram.

    Top Of The Food Chain

    Though the establishment closed in 2012, NYC’s Nino’s Bellissima Pizza piqued the interest of the wealthy with “The One Percenter” – an aptly named offering. Boasting a price tag of $1,000, this sumptuous pie came covered in six different types of caviar and topped off with Maine lobster.

    The Name Is Bond

    A truly one-of-a-kind creation, the James Bond-inspired Pizza Royale 007 was created by noted restaurateur and pizza-portrait maker, Domenico Crolla. Crolla flew to Rome to whip up the pizza, the toppings of which included edible gold shavings, lobster, venison, salmon and caviar soaked in champagne. The pie then went to auction to raise funds for the Fred Hollows Foundation, where it sold for the extraordinary amount of £2,150, which is approximately $2,800 in US dollars.

    The King

    A $12,000 price tag helps the Louis XIII claim the deluxe pizza crown. Customers who select this specialty pizza, conceived by Italian master pizza chef, Renato Viola, are paying for more than just the ingredients. If you choose to order the Louis XIII, a pizza maker, a sommelier and an additional chef will travel from Italy to your home with the necessary ingredients to create the pie in your very own kitchen. Among the delicious ingredients topping this pie are various caviars, lobster, buffalo mozzarella and pink salt hand-collected from the Australian Murray River.

    Make Your Masterpiece

    Think you’re up to the challenge of concocting your own lavishly original, high-end pizza? With Northern Pizza Equipment Inc.’s vast stock of pizzeria equipment, you’ll have plenty of time to practice. Check out our catalog, or contact us to learn more.

  • Atmosphere: Attracting Customers To Your Pizzeria

    If recent trends are anything to go by, the pizza industry isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to PMQ Pizza Magazine, pizza is a $44 billion market in the United States alone. But with increased desire for pizza comes an increase in competition, and this means that independent pizza restaurants must strive even harder to stand out from the crowd. This leads to one question: What can you do to attract more customers to your pizzeria?

    Create A Concept For Your Restaurant

    Visually unappealing restaurants seldom stand out. Consider establishing a core theme for your pizzeria. Take your history, inspirations and menu into account and try tying these things together into one coherent story. This will entice customers while making your restaurant seem more personable. Once you’ve finished developing this concept, carefully integrate it into the décor of your establishment.

    Specific details to take into account include:

    • Colors – If your pizzeria uses a logo, try to use colors that coincide with this branding. This offers consistency and makes your restaurant that much more recognizable. Also bear in mind that warm colors, like red and orange, are typically associated with hunger-inducing properties.
    • Sound – Be sure the level of sound within your pizzeria matches its general feel. If your restaurant is intimate, keep things toned down. If it’s a casual joint, feel free to turn the music up a bit and encourage more lively conversation.
    • Lighting – Much like sound, lighting should be tailored specifically to the experience you’re trying to offer. Brightly colored restaurants operating during the daytime should have bright lighting. If you’re popular in the late evenings, however, consider dimming things a bit for more ambience.

    There are many other factors to take into consideration, ranging from menu design to dish choices, but one idea stands above all: be consistent. A uniform theme can make your restaurant much more identifiable.

    Care For Your Customers

    Another way to upgrade your pizzeria’s atmosphere is by offering customer service that’s second to none. This goes well beyond daily deals and a speedy wait staff. First, ensure that each employee has a comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of your restaurant. While most might know the general menu items, they may be unsure of the intricacies. Remedy this to ensure that when a customer has a question, it’s answered fully and promptly. Plus, be sure to encourage staff to converse with guests and remember their names. If word gets out that you truly care for each customer, it’s only a matter of time before the orders come pouring in.

    Stand Out From The Crowd

    You’ve got the atmosphere down. Now, make sure that you’re armed with equipment that can measure up to your customers’ standards. Take a glance at Northern Pizza Equipment Inc.’s catalog to learn about all that we have to offer your establishment.

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