For people who have been observing Passover since Friday night, right about now you might be experiencing signs of pizza withdrawal. Fear not. Fresh Brothers Pizza has a fix for you --- a special matzah pizza, available until the holiday ends Saturday night. (We'll digress for a moment to note how many spellings there are for the traditional unleavened Passover bread substitute --- matzah, matza, matzo, matzoh, plural matzot...)
"When you keep Passover, it's difficult to eat out. We always end up eating in or bringing lunch to work. So now, those who like to eat out can still do it during the week of Pesach," says Fresh Brothers founder Adam Goldberg, who runs the company along with his brother Michael. (Third brother, Scott, a restaurateur in Chicago, develops the chain's recipes.)
Launched in 2008, the company now has locations in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Westlake Village, Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. In addition to 27 toppings, the chain is known for its gluten-free and vegan menu choices, which can be applied to matzah pizza orders, as well.
This is the first year Fresh Brothers has offered the Passover pie, but in all likelihood it won't be the last, since it appears to be a big hit with customers. As soon as word got out about the special last Friday at lunchtime, people started phoning in and lining up.
"We had one Calabasas customer who liked the matzah pizza so much that he ate five personal pizzas in one sitting," says Goldberg.
The special comes in one size, a 7-inch square, matching a standard sheet of matzah, which serves as the crust. As luck would have it, that fits perfectly inside the company's personal pizza box.
Goldberg says most customers have ordered plain cheese matzah pizza but "we'll make it however they want."
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The laws of keeping kosher are complicated, and you probably won't find any Orthodox Jews ordering this holiday special. But it definitely appeals to those who eat kosher-style and typically follow rules such as avoiding pork products and not mixing dairy and meat foods. Yet no question about it, people who eat kosher-style have been known to put their own spin on Judaism's dietary restrictions.
Still, it's surprising to hear what some customers are requesting as toppings for their matzah pizza.
Says Mark Michaelson, manager of the Calabasas store: "We actually have received a couple of pepperoni orders."