Hurricane Pizza opens in Pensacola and prides itself on a homemade crust

A new pizzeria has hit the Bellview neighborhood as Hurricane Pizza launches its pre-opening this week at 6705 Pine Forest Road, Suite 500, storefront.

While there are around a dozen local pizzerias in Pensacola, co-owner Aaron Barnes said he and his business partner, Roy Allsworth, wanted to bring a local store to a corner of Pensacola where local places are harder to find.

Taking into account the pizzerias that make their own pizza dough by hand, the number of local stores in Pensacola continues to decline further.

Hurricane Pizza co-owner Roy Allsworth bakes a pie to pick up on Monday.

“Big box stores (stores), they don’t do that,” Barnes said of the homemade crusts. “We wanted to make quality pizza, and we wanted to do it at a fair price.”

Barnes said that once the restaurant opened, “we did about three times the number of deals we expected.”

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The business has been particularly successful for businesses because of its location right next to a Walmart, ensuring the parking lot outside the store is constantly busy. In addition to walk-in traffic, the restaurant also offers delivery.

After spending years working together in a Pensacola Pizza Hut, the two owners met over a beer about a year ago and decided to have a go at starting their own business.

Both had a good idea of ​​how to run and run a business from their past experiences, but were back to the drawing board when it came to experimenting with their own toppings and recipes.

Hurricane Pizza co-owner Roy Allsworth puts the finishing touches on a Mexicali Hurricane pizza on Monday.

Barnes said it all boiled down to the idea that pizza should be “a fun food,” and they wanted to embrace creativity with their recipes.

One of their best-selling products, Mexicali Hurricane, for example, starts off with a base of beans, onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a side of salsa. Another signature pizza, the Pineapple Express, constantly surprises customers with its use of cashews as a garnish, with pineapple, ham and bacon.

Barnes said he wanted the toppings to be superior, but the prices to be affordable. Specialty pizzas start at $ 8.99 for the 9-inch size, $ 12.99 for a 12-inch pizza, and $ 15.99 for a 14-inch pizza.

In addition to the 16 toppings and four sauces on offer daily, Barnes said the store will start offering a “pizza of the week” concept sometime in February that will play with different seasonal ingredients available each week.

The pizzeria was originally designed to cater primarily for take out orders, but the staff have since added a handful of tables available to help those on a tight lunch break.

Trade a six-figure salary to make a different kind of dough

When he signed up to work at Pizza Hut in high school and college, Barnes said he had no idea he would find his way back into the pizza industry as a career on time. full.

He said he lived in Ottawa, Canada, where he ultimately found his career unsatisfying. He said he paved the way for climbing the ladder in the tech industry, eventually hitting a six-figure salary, before making the decision to open a restaurant.

Hurricane Pizza co-owner Aaron Barnes makes a batch of pizza dough to start the work week on Monday.

He also wanted to return home to Pensacola where he had spent most of his life.

“I wanted to come home, raise the kids around grandparents and stuff,” Barnes said. “I’ve never really enjoyed anything that much. If you’re just looking for the money… you’ll never be really happy.”

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There was no sensation like knocking on a door to deliver pizza and hearing the kids shouting “pizza man” behind the door, Barnes said.

Allsworth said for him that the idea of ​​running a pizza place was a long time coming.

“It’s always been on my mind, we’ve always talked about it and never done anything,” Allsworth said. “It became that way two decades later. I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s second nature.”

Between his mother’s experience starting restaurants and his friends and family also working at Pizza Hut, Allsworth had the support he needed to make his dream come true.

Allsworth added that his wife, Brittany, as well as Barnes’ wife, Stephanie, played a pivotal role in jumping to help out, whether working in the kitchen on the pizzas or managing the media pages. social aspects of the company.

Hurricane Pizza is now open 7 days a week from 11 am to 8:30 pm Orders can be placed by calling 850-378-0027 or selecting “order now” on the company’s website.