Grisanti came on board as a consultant to create specialty gourmet pizzas with a Southern flair. Pizzas will include “Burnin’ Love,” “Tiger’s Prey,” the “King,” “Voodoo Village,” and “Smoke on the Water,” a barbecue pizza with pulled pork from Central Barbecue.
“We thought it would be fun to name the pizzas after some things around Memphis,” Grisanti says.
He collaborated with Tug’s general manager Neal Heaslett to create the pizzas. “Roman style is different than a Neapolitan type,” Grisanti says. “It’s a little bit thicker crust. More of a durable crust than a thin, thin crust. But still has the great crunch to it and holds up very, very well.”
Grisanti, who comes from a long line of Memphis restaurateurs, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has apprenticed with internationally acclaimed chefs in Italy.
He originally was attracted to Tug’s blueberry pancakes. “I have a condo Downtown. I eat down there for brunch every Sunday. I fell in love with their blueberry pancakes. They’re more of a European, French style.”
Grisanti loved the flavor. “I’m more into a crepe style pancake that’s thinner. And that’s what they had. And, man, you can eat 20 of them without even knowing about it.”
He discovered the pancakes were made from a recipe from Louis Holland, one of the owners, who dined at Ronnie Grisanti’s. “I would sit down with him at dinner like I do and chit chat and talk. And we got to talking about pizzas. And he goes, ‘Judd, you know, Harbor Town is really looking for some pizzas.’”
And, Holland told him, “We’re looking for something full time,” Grisanti says.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we do something with Tug’s.’”
And, Grisanti told Holland, “I would love to help you guys and get you started. And get you up and going. Put the people in place and we’ll make this happen.”
Tug’s Casual Grill is at 51 Harbor Town Square; (901) 260-3344