Champion Pizza’s 18-inch, foot-tall cheeseburger pizza weighs in at 40 to 45 pounds, but rest assured: The proceeds from this $2,000 pie are going to a good cause.
The New York City chain will donate profits from the pricey concoction to organizations aiding in Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, including the Red Cross and Salvation Army. CEO and founder Hakki Akdeniz said he’s also in communication with local organizations, and is reserving 20 percent of the proceeds for them.
So far, Champion Pizza has sold 15 — five of them to be delivered to an undisclosed buyer at Columbus Circle on Friday — and the eatery requires interested eaters to place orders three days in advance.
“We didn’t come up with a fancy name,” said Joseph Guevara, general manager for Champion Pizza’s city locations. “We wanted to use the recipe to work with something special, to contribute to our society.”
The company launched the offering on Sep. 12 and is currently getting “30 to 40 calls a day,” Guevara said.
Customer reaction so far has been what you’d expect.
“Imagine you receive a pie that is 40 pounds, it’s like holy [expletive], how am I going to be able to eat all of this,” Guevara said, laughing. “It’s one thing to order it, it’s another to receive the whole item. It’s like, oh yeah.”
The finished product, which feeds about 20 people, incorporates 15 pounds of Kobe beef, 10 pounds of cheese, and several layers of lettuce, tomato, organic sauce and the house “special dough.” The ingredients cost about $500, which means about $1500 per pie goes to hurricane recovery efforts. It can take days to collect everything needed, hence the waiting period, but the pie only takes an hour to assemble and bake.
“We try and use the freshest ingredients, the highest quality ingredients. We try to keep it as light as possible,” Guevara said.
Akdeniz said the idea came to him when he learned one of Champion Pizza’s locations near a school was selling out of their “burger pizza” — an idea local students had come up with.
“Then when the hurricane happened, I said, ‘Let’s put more money, make a big pizza like something no one’s done yet,’ ” Akdeniz said. “Everybody said I was crazy, I was out of my mind, how are you going to cook it? How are you going to put it all together?”
Figuring out how to cook such a massive meal wasn’t easy. Akdeniz, who founded Champion Pizza eight years ago, said several pies were lost in the experimental process. Eventually, he developed a way to prevent the lettuce and tomato from wilting terribly, and the result, he said, was worth the effort. Akdeniz hopes to sell at least 100 pies for the cause.