Photo courtesy of David Kahn.
0714 Pizza 120
David Kahn and Tasker Hewitt stand in front of Pizza 120’s rotating oven, which cooks up to 14 pizzas in 120 seconds each.
David Kahn pushes his fingers apart to zoom in. The image on screen has taken a year’s work, and he wants to show off the air bubbles in the pizza crust. After tasting hundreds of pies, he now has a dough he’d put up against anyone else’s. It makes for a light and airy crust that doesn’t leave you feeling overly stuffed, he said.
Kahn wouldn’t think twice about where to debut the pizza made from his signature dough. A 20-year Mountain Brook resident, he owned a Blockbuster in Crestline Village for years, and he chose Cahaba Village as the location for the first of what would become 46 Yogurt Mountain locations, which he sold the last of in July 2013.
His new Pizza 120 concept, boasting a build-your-own pizza ready in 120 seconds, is set to open in Mountain Brook Plaza between Taziki’s and Moe’s opened on Oct. 20. He also has plans to have Tuscaloosa, Madison and Montgomery locations open soon as well.
“I am excited [for customers] to truly be able to design their own [pizzas] and to give Birmingham something it hasn’t seen yet,” said Pizza 120 vice president Tasker Hewitt, whom Kahn recruited from California Pizza Kitchen. “I am also excited for the opportunity to work with David. He has an amazing track record of growing businesses.”
Upon entering the restaurant, customers will pick out their sauce and veggie and meat toppings in a Subway-style line, or choose from 10 specialty options such as Cheeseburger, Barbecue Chicken, Margherita, White Pizza, Pesto Pizza and Philly Cheesesteak. From there the single serving pizza enters a special rotating oven manufactured in Italy, which cooks the pie in two minutes.
“It’s the most traditional Italian Neapolitan style pizza, and we have captured that for a fast casual concept,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt and Kahn have spent more than half a year researching the ingredients for Pizza 120. The pepperoni and sausage come from a Chicago company that uses no fillers or MSG. The hamburger, chicken and steak, Hewitt said, taste like they came off the grill.
Their red sauce will be made in-house from tomatoes imported from Italy. Grown in the rich volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius, Hewitt said you could eat the tomatoes themselves by the spoonful. They’ll also make the Alfredo and pesto sauce options.
As far as cheese options, mozzarella, fresh buffalo mozzarella, feta and cheddar will all come from Wisconsin, and there will also be a nondairy vegan cheese alternative, along with a gluten-free crust.
Beyond savory pizza, customers can order salads with any pizza topping available as well as dessert pizzas. The menu will also feature beer and wine in addition to Coke products.
The 10-inch single serving pizzas range from $5.99 for cheese to $7.99 for any build your own option. Pizza 120 also offers a $4.99 kids meal that features a cheese or pepperoni pizza with a drink and cookie. All are available for dine in, take out, or a take-and-bake-at-home option. Soon an app will be available for placing orders so you can skip the topping line if you are short on time.
No matter the customer’s taste, Hewitt emphasizes that at Pizza 120 you can build your pizza however you want to build it.
“You can turn anything into a pizza,” Hewitt said. “We will encourage employees to not be afraid to break the rules. The only limit is your imagination.”