By Andrew & Arielle
When Joan and Paul Schreier ventured into the food industry in November 2011, they called their creation “Berry Healthy Café.” The café, sandwiched between arts and crafts store Michael’s and Five Guys Burgers and Fries in the shopping center beside the Walt Whitman mall, now goes by a new name: Berrylicious Café and Top-A-Pizza.
The “Top-A-Pizza” option – personalized pizzas made in 90 seconds – is new. Berry Healthy specialized in such offerings as smoothies, salads, wraps and frozen yogurt. Now, the name has changed and the menu features such options as pizza, wings and mozzarella sticks.
“We did it to expand the menu offering,” Paul said of Top-A-Pizza, which debuted in June. “That was primarily the reason for doing it, whether we bring in a bigger lunch crowd and a more diversified lunch crowd, or we bring in [an] evening crowd – [for] which pizza might be more applicable.”
The idea of pizza at the Schreiers’ Route 110 location may at first seem strange. Admittedly, Paul said he was skeptical of the idea of serving a pizza that cooks in just 90 seconds. But the Brooklyn native promised that if it wasn’t good pizza, he would not serve it – and the crisp crust and perfectly melted cheese proved his point for him.
“It’s not your grandma’s or grandpa’s pizza, where the traditional pie is made, it sits out there and you wait for the customer to swing [through] the door,” he said. “You come in, it’s going to be yours personally, it’s freshly made… in a very short period of time with a reasonable cost.”
Within about three minutes, Joan went from laying out a square slice of pre-cooked pizza dough to lining it with sauce and cheese, decorating it with pepperoni slices and putting it into the oven – all right in front of us, behind the transparent counter.
“The feedback [for the pizza] has been very positive,” Joan said. “I think people are impressed with the product… pleasantly surprised.”
Pizzas at Top-A-Pizza – an addition that soft-launched to customers in June and officially launched, new storefront sign and all, during the Fourth of July weekend – fall into three separate categories: cheese, specialty and “Top-A-Pizza.” Cheese pizzas, as you may have guessed, are a traditional plain pie served on either a 12-inch by 6-inch kids’ thin crust ($4.99), 12-inch thin crust ($5.99) or a 12-inch white or wheat tortilla ($5.99).
The other two categories come into play when any of the 15 listed toppings are added on top. Specialty pizzas ($6.99 kids’ crust, $7.99 all others) like the “Very Vegetable” and “Berry BBQ” line the menu as guidelines for those unsure of what to pick. For the same price, an unlimited amount of toppings can be added – ranging from crumbled sausage and meatball to mushrooms and onions.
Another perk of the new pizza service comes with the Schreiers’ undying promise of flexibility. Any of the wraps listed on the menu can be turned into a pizza – like the “Eggplant Paramalicious,” which turned into a pizza with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, eggplant and cheese; it was perfect.
To go along with the pizza motif, Berrylicious now serves mozzarella sticks (5 for $4.99 or 10 for $9.99) and chicken wings (5 for $5.99 or 10 for $10.99), as well. The couple promised speed in serving those, too – each is prepared in less than three minutes.
For those not into the pizza-and-wings scene, “all of the Berry menu is still here,” Paul said. That includes smootheis, wraps, lettuce bowls and chopped salads.
“Quite candidly, we joke about being next to Five Guys where we’ll see a family walk toward the two storefronts and then see the gentleman go toward the hamburger place and the woman and the children come to Berrylicious,” Paul said. “Now, we feel that, families, we’ll keep them together. Pizza is generic, but universal to all… [But] if it’s something that doesn’t appeal to you, it’s not a pizza-only location.”
Smoothies, with names like “Treasure Island,” still line the menu with a 24 oz. ($5.49) and kids’ size ($3.99). The Treasure Island, a mix of pineapple, strawberries and banana, is the perfect smoothie to cool off with on a hot summer day or the perfect complement to any of Top-A-Pizza’s offerings.
Recently, also a part of the Schreiers’ initiative to bend and structure their business to whatever their customers ask for, the couple decided to add vegetables into the smoothie mix.
The “Kale Spectacular” takes the trendy green and produces a muted-kelly-green blend of kale, mango, peach, banana, goji and cinnamon. The Kale Spectacular does not taste as healthy as it probably is – in a good way.
While the establishment does not boast about potential health benefits – its name is no longer “Berry Healthy Café” – one could argue that the vegetable-fruit smoothie selection is a throwback to the eatery’s original premise. To drink a Kale Spectacular is to consume healthy vegetables and fruits with ease and pleasure, through a straw.
To further meet their customers’ needs, the couple offers free delivery within a 5-mile radius for a $25 minimum charge. Customers can place orders online or over the phone at www.topapizza.com.
But the option to dine at the café is, of course, still an option, and with a venue that’s absolutely spotless and full of cheery staff members – including the Schreier’s children, Lauren and Justin – it might be preferred.
Berrylicious Café and Top-A-Pizza
350 Route 110, Huntington Station