Pizza Today - October 2016 - 57

W

hen we visited Ciao! Wood-Fired Pizza & Pasta
this past summer, it was a late morning visit. The
store was empty, flames from the oven were just
about right and Owner Mark Campagnolo and
General Manager Bill Oechslin were both on-hand
to greet us. One by one, pizzas, appetizers and signature
drinks graced a table by the window for our photographer;
within the hour, however, we quickly found we needed to
clear the booth as we watched tables fill up one by one.
By noon, every seat in the large restaurant was taken --
including the bar. It seems Ciao! has struck a nerve with
local residents.

Still, Ithaca is considered a foodie town, says Oechslin.
"There's definitely a lot of competition here," he says.
Adds Campagnolo: "There are more restaurants here
in Ithaca per capita than New York City. It's one of the
few bragging rights Ithaca has. But a lot of them are very
ethnic. They're all very good, but Ithaca is not a chain town.
The chains don't thrive here at all."
"Starting out, we had a lot of things going for us.

We had a lot of name recognition. My family has been
deep-rooted in this town for a long time," Campagnolo
says. "That's a good and bad
thing. It's good that people know
Campagnolo's father
us, but it's bad that the ... bar is
(set) way, way high in terms of
emigrated from Italy and
landed in Ithaca, where the job
what we deliver."
market boomed post WWII.
The pizza is a combination
His father worked nights in
of traditional and Neapolitan.
the restaurant business and
"That's where the oven comes in,"
eventually opened his own
Campagnolo says. "Making that
place in 1960 with just $800. "I
balance work was as little tricky
worked with my father since I
because we were always tweaking
was a kid," Campagnolo says,
our dough. ... It just so happens
"and then I went to college
that there's a giant niche here
down in Miami not knowing
wide open for this."
what I wanted to do, really."
Dough, sauces and desserts
Campagnolo worked for
are made in-house, seafood is
a number of large restaurant
brought in fresh and steaks are
chains, where he learned a lot
even cut on site.
about corporate operations.
The restaurant has a dining
On a summer vacation back
counter built around its oven and
to Ithaca, he found the local
a full bar with a regular happys (Left) BILL OECHSLIN, general manager and
landmark Italian restaurant had
hour crowd. Signature drinks,
(right) MARK CAMPAGNOLO, owner and founder
closed and sat empty for four
beer and wines -- including a
years. Campagnolo and a friend
house label -- make up about 25
bought the business, opened it back up and he owned it for
percent of sales. "Of all the alcohol sales, wine constitutes
another 12 years before selling to his partner and opening a
50 percent of it," Campagnolo says.
popular seafood restaurant called The Boatyard Grill. After a
Ciao! uses a combination gas/wood-fired oven, which
year, his former partner closed his Italian joint. Campagnolo's is more conducive to a high-volume restaurant. "Gas
Boatyard customers kept asking for pizza and pasta, so
ovens are nice and you get the same top and bottom heat;
Campagnolo opened Ciao! in a 3,500 square-foot barn in
however, gas burns with moisture in it," he says. "You
2010. "We're very 'fussy' and conservative about where we go,
add wood, and it imparts wood flavor and dries the heat.
what we do and how we do it," he says. "We either do it right, With the dry heat, we just feel the dough and the pizza
or we don't do it. All of the elements have to click."
produces a better product."
And "right" is an understatement. "In my original
Oechslin says The Margherita pizza (crushed tomato,
forecast, I figured we'd do about $1.8 million or so based on fresh mozz, torn basil and sliced garlic) and The Roma
our square footage," Campagnolo says. "The fact that we're
Special (red sauce, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, roasted
doing basically $3 million here is an anomaly. We're in a
peppers and mozz) are the company's two most popular
small town. There are not many people here."
specialty pizzas.
O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / 5 7


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Pizza Today - October 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - October 2016

Pizza Today - October 2016
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Dough Doctor
Attracting Investors
Pizza & Pasta Northeast
2016 Hot 100 Independents
Ciao!, Baby
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - October 2016 - CT1
Pizza Today - October 2016 - CT2
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Pizza Today - October 2016
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Cover2
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Commentary
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 4
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 5
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Contents
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 7
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 8
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 9
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Contributors
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 11
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 13
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Interact
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 15
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Conversation
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 17
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 19
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 21
Pizza Today - October 2016 - On Tap
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 23
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Destinations
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 25
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Dough Doctor
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 27
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 28
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 29
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 30
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 31
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 32
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 33
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 34
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 35
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 36
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 37
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 38
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 39
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 40
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 41
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 42
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 43
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Attracting Investors
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 45
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 46
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 47
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Pizza & Pasta Northeast
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 49
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 50
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 51
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 2016 Hot 100 Independents
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 53
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 54
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 55
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Ciao!, Baby
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 57
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 58
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 59
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 60
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 62
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 63
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 65
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 66
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 67
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 68
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 69
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 70
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 71
Pizza Today - October 2016 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 73
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 74
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 75
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 76
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 77
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 78
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 79
Pizza Today - October 2016 - 80
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Cover3
Pizza Today - October 2016 - Cover4
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