It's so much more than the food

While my husband Ozzie has been in the restaurant business for decades this venture is new for me. My only experience was a summer job in the salad prep area of a hometown family restaurant when I was all of fourteen years old. I expected that I'd be helping with the marketing, answering phones and taking food orders. I'm not the best at it but I'm trying. Our customers are so patient when they see me fumbling with the buttons on our register. Most times we all end up in laughing about it. A humorous break in the hectic stressful daily life routine.

Something that I did not expect however is just how personal the food business can be. It's more than just providing great food and making people happy and of course full. We're connecting with our customers in ways that I would have never expected. The other evening a regular customer came into the store and shared a life event that was unfolding that very week. It was such a shocking story that he actually showed us photographs capturing the moment. We've met members of the community that have been in business for nearly forty years and they share their success stories and offer a hand should we ever need it. Almost daily we meet individuals from all areas of Mansfield that are active in various aspects from public service to business and community involvement. Customers take the time to provide feedback for us both positive and negative in a caring manner. It is so nice to see that they want nothing for us but success. I never expected to have such patient and caring customers. They can see that we are trying our best when it's a Friday evening and there are many orders in the queue. Their patience, gratitude and support is beyond anything that we could have expected.

We are so incredibly grateful. It's something that I never expected. I thought it would be all about the food when it is clearly so much more. 


Dad Comes to Visit the "New" Shop Tomorrow

I know that this is a business blog but since I write pretty much from the heart it's difficult to not get personal from time to time. This is one of those moments indeed. Not many people know this but Ozzie and I took over Deco's as new owners just over a month ago. Yes we've hung a new management sign out front but I'm not sure how many folks pass by that portion of North Main on a reoccurring basis. Well tomorrow my dad comes into town. He doesn't live all that far away but this is a few hours drive and for him it's a bit of travel so this is his first time getting out this way since we've taken over. Even though Deco's has already been in business this is a new venture for Ozzie and I and my dad is very excited to see the place and all that we have done since taking over ownership.

While preparing my dad's room for tomorrow evening at home I couldn't help be reminisce about childhood. I thought to my myself, what was the very first meal that I can remember my dad cooking for me. I'll never forget when I was very young my cousin would stay over from time to time and my dad would make his special breakfast for us. It was scrambled eggs with cheese and ham. He prepared it in such a way that the ham was cut up in tiny pieces and mixed into the eggs. The eggs were beaten so well that watching him make the eggs was like watching a mixer switched to high gear. He probably figuring that we were young and it would be more palatable for us to eat if they were prepared in a fluffy style. The cheese that he used made for a velvety texture that added an extra flavor and as a child this was just scrumptious. Heck, as an adult it's scrumptious. My dad had, and still has a way of cooking his eggs. When scrambled they still remain soft and with just enough moisture to make them melt in your mouth good. To this day I cannot eat overcooked scrambled eggs. When it comes to over easy eggs my dad prefers them in a way however that I just could not tolerate. When he orders them at our hometown diner he says "crack em', flip em', and take em' off.  "Ewwww dad" I exclaim every time. The order remains just as shocking now even though I've heard it my entire life. Like I think it will change and some day he'll oder the huevos rancheros over hard...not. Maybe the next time we're in Boston I'll suggest the Tobiko with Quail Egg Yolk at my favorite sushi spot.

Love you dad, can't wait to see you tomorrow!


Is it a sign? Postal marketing vs. online?

By now you have probably figured out that I am the shout it from the rooftops gal. The cog that is the wheel of marketing for our little pizza shop. Ozzie is in charge of the kitchen and making the most yummy food possible. From a simple slice of cheese pizza to the most complex large filled calzone. He's got it covered.

So it's my job to kick the Hornets nest of Mansfield (pun intended) and to create a buzz (yes, another pun). In my challenge to bring attention to our little shop I'm currently on the fence about how to go about doing so. 

Up until now I haven't sent out a mailing to our town but lately I've been thinking that maybe that is something I should be doing. After all, isn't that what all of the other restaurants do?

While standing in line today at the Mansfield Post Office to inquire about the process  I pulled out my phone to distract myself while in line. So I proceeded with of my favorite activities. Checking in on social media. Now I typically do not receive direct messages from social media sites but there was one in my inbox so I decided to take a moment and read it. I will tell you it was the kindest, most inspirational message that I have yet to receive. It was from a family that just moved to the area and they went on to say how much they enjoyed our food. The main focus of the message stated that they took note of all of the social media work that I have been doing and praised me for it. Here someone went out of their way to wish me a wonderful 2017 and to let me know what a wonderful job I was doing online. All this while standing in line waiting at the post office to learn about my print mailing options. As another sign, when I got to the counter the agent told me, oh...everything you need to submit a mailing can be found online. (huh...)

I can't help but this a sign? Maybe I should ditch the idea of print mail advertising and just do what comes from the heart. Sharing stories and information online. Doing what I enjoy. Talking about food, how much joy it can bring and how lucky we are to have this in abundance in our lives.


Slice of the pie...literally

This morning as I awoke I made my bed as soon as my feet hit the floor. (I was raised by a mother who valued a well made bed when rising for the day). I had a song playing in my head and I must have awoken to the tune as it lingered in my mind. From a TV sitcom in the late 70's "The Jefferson's". I'm sure most of us have heard the song "Moving On Up" at one time or another in our lives. The line that stood out to me specifically was the last line played before the start of every episode. "We finally got a piece of the pie". Did the singer mean pizza pie I wonder? :)

Over the past month or so it's been my job to create a buzzz... about the restaurant. I've been actively posting on social media and have even created a contest for the Mansfield Hornets Pizza. Door to door menus, shaking hands and promoting our great food to everyone that will give me ten seconds of their time. I dream of a day when we have a steady stream of folks coming in for lunch and no room to even sit in our 80's laminate booths in the evenings. Pizza drivers rushing in and out of the door at a frantic pace. Pizzas flying in an out of the ovens so fast that cornmeal and flour dust fills the air.

This is my vision, my hope and my dream for Ozzie and I. His cooking is deserving but we've got a long road ahead. Someday I hope that we can sing the last line of the song proudly.... "We finally got a piece of the pie..."







First Major Winter Storm Hits New England

Well today the first major storm of 2017 has hit and is in full effect. The trains are still rolling in and out of the Mansfield station. We've had to reduce our service tonight, meaning pick up only. Just too risky having our drivers out and about. We're staying open for the essential personnel, police, fire and plows, and of course weary train travelers. From time to time there is a train that pulls in and you can't help but feel sorry for those trudging through the snow with the ice cold snow flakes hitting their cold faces and melting instantly leaving them with a cold and wet face. I'm fortunate to be sitting here in our warm pizza shop with the toasty pizza oven to my back. The smell of freshly made dough and sauce lingers in the air. Take care in this storm folks, it will warm up before we know it. It is New England after all. If you don't like the weather wait five minutes it will change.  -Kimberly



New Years Resolutions...Maybe we should pause...

As we head into the new year of 2107 there's talk of new years resolutions all around. It's no surprise that a number of them relate to food. Statements such as "I'm going to eat healthier this year.  I'm going to eat nothing but veggies and salads. No sugar for me this year!" I could go on and on. Although what I haven't heard is anyone say I'm going to enjoy at least one meal of the day and use this moment as a time to reflect, relax and enjoy both my time and the company of others.

I can't help but take a step back to a time just a few weeks ago. Ozzie and I had the opportunity to attend a talk given by none other than American chef, writer and restauranteur Mario Batali. While on stage in Boston proudly showing off his famous orange crocs he answered a number of questions from the audience. While the discussion of food was of course the main focus an important take home message was that we've lost the essence of the act of eating food together and to be in the moment. To enjoy the company of one another. We should eat and then pause. Hold off on clearing the plates away. Sit and take some time, 15 minutes or so in that magical moment. Relax, reflect, converse. Keep the phones face down on the table. Slow things down and really enjoy the act of eating, conversing and really reflect and enjoy the bounty of what we have had the opportunity to consume. 

Perhaps this is an important part of life that we've overlooked. These days the fast pace of life has us running on full tilt. Perhaps it's time to stop, take a moment, let the plates sit on the table and enjoy what is around us. Take it all in. Enjoy the true essence of a meal, food and what it means to be alive. The meal doesn't need to be a five star fine dining experience to be enjoyed.

The next time you order a meal from Deco's. Even if its at simple as a cheese pizza. Pause for a few minutes afterwards either alone or with family and friends. Let the plates sit for 15 minutes. Discuss the day. Talk about life. Enjoy this time. We deserve this in the new year and with hope many more to come.