Everyone knows that our delivery drivers are some of Seattle’s finest navigators, with detailed knowledge of the highways, byways and sideways between your place and our place. But did you know that they also check up on the rest of us to make sure everything is right with your order? We ask all of our drivers to take responsibility for every order they deliver, from checking the size and toppings on your pie to making sure your salad has light salami with dressing on the side.
“Sure” you’re thinking, “That’s like asking a GPS to proofread my term paper.” Well, we submit Abbas Hayek, who delivers out of the 85th Street location in Ballard, to prove that there is more to our drivers than just an encyclopedic knowledge of our city streets.
Abbas holds the current record, having made his last 14,522 deliveries without a single error (more by the time you read this!). What does this nearly unbelievable feat mean to Abbas? It means he gets to hold the coveted Driver Trophy, which is the highest honor any Pagliacci Pizza driver can achieve. It means his name is added to the list of the best and brightest, written in gold on the trophy and preserved for all eternity. It means that he continues to embody perfection, shining as a beacon of what is possible to the rest of us satisfied with mere excellence.
Abbas’ own words when I handed the trophy to him probably sum it up best. “This is the proudest and happiest day of my life,” he said. There was a long pause as he looked thoughtful. “Except for the birth of my children” he eventually added.
Most people in Seattle are familiar with Salumi Artisan Cured Meats. Their Pioneer Square location is known for their flavorful salamis and regularly boasts long lines down the block during lunchtime.
When founder and local legend Armandino Batali finally obtained USDA certification for Salumi about five years ago, we were so excited that he could sell to restaurants that developing a seasonal pie became our top priority. The Salumi Primo was born with one of their favorite salamis, finocchiona – flavored with cracked fennel, pepper and a touch of curry.
It wasn’t long before we approached them about making a special pepperoni for us. Salumi’s Spicy Pepperoni has been a regular part of our menu since the fall of 2006.
Always looking for a way to get more Salumi products on our pies, we spent last summer sampling a number of Salumi creations in various combinations – smoked paprika, winter salami, Salumi salami, sopressata, mole…so many to choose from. But it was their rosmarino that won our heart, a special rosemary seasoned salami that Salumi created exclusively for DeLaurenti Food & Wine in 2007. DeLaurenti is still the only place you’ll find this salami, with the exception of on top of our pies.
Last September we introduced Salame Picante, showcasing Salumi’s rosmarino salami with Peppadew sweet peppers and fresh rosemary on our Margherita base of fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. Many customers and crew declared it a favorite. We knew it had to find its way on to our regular menu.
With Armandino retired, we called his daughter Gina, who took over the helm of Salumi along with her husband Brian. We talked logistics since this salami takes a minimum of 45 days to cure. The decision was made to hold off until May and after eight impatient months of waiting, we are happy to announce Salame Picante is now a regular part of our menu.
But the news doesn’t end there. If you’re not convinced our flavor combination is quite up to your taste, you can create your own pizza masterpiece with rosmarino. It’s available as a regular pizza topping. So are Peppadews… but more on them later.