TRURO, N.S. – Sometimes you just have to float a trial balloon and see how high it soars.
That was pretty much the basis for Tom Chapman to toss out the idea of seeing how many people would be interested in having his family’s much-loved “brown sauce” pizza delivered from Truro to the Halifax area.
“We just took advantage of the social media, put it out there and it just sort of ballooned from there,” he said.
“We ended up turning down more orders than what we actually took,” Chapman said, of the 44 pizzas he delivered to Dartmouth last weekend.
Chapman is co-owner of Acropole Pizza & Donair in Truro. His family is the creators of the arguably famous brown sauce pizzas from Pictou County and after opening up shop in the Esplanade almost two years ago, Chapman said he would occasionally receive inquiries about the possibility of making deliveries to the Halifax and Moncton areas.
“The customers were sort of asking for it,” he said. “And some would ask us, ‘if the order was big enough would you take a delivery to Halifax?’”
When he actually posed the question on social media, Chapman said he was overwhelmed with requests for pizza orders.
“It took us 36 to 48 hours to reach the 40-pizza mark.”
The problem, however, was how to make that many deliveries while still retaining the quality and temperature of a fresh-ordered pizza.
“We made everything fresh. We didn’t pre-roll anything out ahead of time.”
Chapman said he had to purchase additional thermal pizza bags to cover the entire order and he also purchased some tin-foil hot/cold bags to give to each customer as they received their order to help retain the pizza temperature during their drive home.
“Everything went very smooth,” he said, of delivering the 22 individual orders to a single, pre-determined location in Dartmouth.
“The transition went smoothly and, like 15 minutes later, I’m back on the highway and heading for home.”
And Chapman said he has received nothing but positive response at the quality of the pizza, despite the long drive to get them there.
“They were totally surprised at how warm the pizzas still were.”
The secret family recipe for the Acropole pizza sauce dates to about the mid 1970s and Chapman said everything is made from fresh ingredients with a unique blend of spices.
“It’s as homemade as you possibly can get,” he said. “And we cook it, it’s not just thrown together quickly, mixed in a pot and then thrown on a pizza. It’s a three-hour process to make the sauce.”
Chapman is co-owner of the Truro pizzeria along with his step-brother Drea Cougias, who also owns another location in New Glasgow. His stepfather, Andre Cougias owns another location in Westville. A fourth Acropole, owned by Andre and Drea Cougias is located in Pictou.
Since making the pizza run to Dartmouth, Chapman said he has been receiving further delivery requests, including some inquiries from New Brunswick. And while he’s not sure of whether the logistics of making a run out of the province are possible, Chapman said the success of his first run to the metro area is encouraging for future deliveries there.
“The response they gave was exactly what we were looking for,” he said. “I’m definitely thinking within the next two or three weeks of trying another one.”