"Pizza Not Flat Anymore," boasts the motto at Pizza Cono. If you didn't have any problems with pizza being flat, say hello to Mike Rifai. The brand-new shop's part-owner and spokesman worked in pizza joints while attending Pitt. He graduated in 1997, and became an electrical engineer. But when he heard about cone pizza in Italy, he says, "I thought it would be a great idea for here."
Rifai imported the special ovens for shaping the thin-crust dough into a cone and baking in the toppings ... er, fillings. Varieties range from the Classic (basil, tomato sauce and cheese) and the Supreme (with everything) to specialties like Chicken Fajita and Mediterranean (pesto, artichoke, black olives, feta and mushrooms).
However, says Rifai, Pizza Cono's most popular item is the Nutella cone with whipped cream. He also plans to add an egg-and-cheese breakfast cone. The shop (open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily) offers a selection of barista coffee drinks and loose teas. Rifai hopes it will become a hangout, not just a pizza place.
While each cone pizza has the weight and volume of one large slice of traditional pizza, at $3.73-4.66, it costs twice as much. But Rifai says the cones are proportioned more generously, with "smaller dough, but a huge amount of ingredients."
So far, he says, customers agree.
"They just want to come and see what is pizza in a cone," says Rifai. "We hope this will become a franchise."