It all started with a portable oven and a pet pig. PizzaPig, the brainchild of Leanne and Scott Clouthier, made its debut appearance at the Fisherman’s Wharf in Hay River on August 1.
The Clouthiers told Cabin Radio they had named their homemade pizza business in honour of their fur baby, Matilda, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.
“We always had an interest in making pizza and getting a pizza oven,” said Scott Clouthier. “In fact, I should say it’s my wife, Leanne, who was really interested in having a pizza oven.”
Being locked down during the pandemic was just the push the pair needed to make the oven dream a reality.
“During the Covid quarantine a couple of months back, we decided that now’s probably the best time ever to pick up a new hobby,” said Scott.
“So we ordered this pizza oven, it’s called a Roccbox. It was basically just for our own purposes, but once we started making pizzas and inviting people over – and having them try the pizzas – everyone kept saying, you guys could sell these.”
So that’s what the couple did. Leanne took a mandated food safety course and Scott got to work imagining what they could sell at the Fisherman’s Wharf, Hay River’s town market.
The result is PizzaPig, which offers three kinds of 12-inch pizza each weekend at the market.
“We [have] two mainstays: the Margherita, which is a classic sauce, mozzarella, and basil, the Neapolitan style. And we have pepperoni, just because everyone seems to like pepperoni pizza,” Scott said.
Cooking with local ingredients
The Clouthiers try to use NWT produce for their pizzas.
“Our basil is fresh and local. It comes from Riverside Growers here in Hay River,” Scott said. “Then, on top of that, we’re going to do a feature pizza working with [available] fresh ingredients.
“This week, we picked up some heirloom tomatoes from Greenwood Gardens, which is another producer here in town.”
Business is booming and the newly created company already has a good following on social media.
“Our Facebook page has over 200 likes, which is pretty amazing,” said Scott. “Everywhere we go now, people keep stopping us and saying that they want to try the pizza.”
At its first Saturday market, PizzaPig sold out of its 40 pizzas within an hour.
“It took about an hour and 45 minutes to make them all. I’d say our average wait time was about 15-25 minutes for most customers, from when they ordered to when it was ready,” said Scott.
“We’re going to work on our processes a bit to see if we can speed that up. Thankfully, almost everyone had no problem waiting.”
This coverage of the NWT’s business sector during the Covid-19 pandemic is sponsored by the NWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment. Visit Buy North for more information on businesses near you.