If pizza is a prime delivery and takeout item, calzones are their even-more-portable cousin. In fact, the Italian word “calzone” roughly translates to “pant leg,” referring to the fact that you can eat it while walking around town. If your restaurant serves pizza, you’re already halfway there! Here is Chef Beall’s advice on how to add calzones to your menu.
Upgrading your offering with calzones: easy as pie
There’s a reason why pizza is one of the most popular delivery dishes in Canada – it’s absolutely perfect for takeout and off-premise dining. Calzones are essentially the same thing, just folded in half for extra portability.
Since calzones are sealed shut, they retain their heat and freshness for longer without getting soggy. Their shape makes them particularly great as a lunch item: customers can walk in, order their calzone, and eat them on the go. No utensils, no mess.
Adding this dish to your menu is simply a matter of building your pizza differently. You can use the same toppings you already have on hand, garnish half the pie, fold it up, and seal it. If you already have pizza on the menu, it’s the easiest way to offer customizable options to your customers.
You can serve them in a small pizza box for delivery, or wrap them up for grab-n-go orders.
Calzones can be prepared ahead of time and frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet, then cooked as needed. Batch prepping allows restaurants to increase their productivity and saves cooks from having to put them together on the fly.
Get creative with your calzones
A traditional calzone is typically filled with salami, mushrooms, and Ricotta cheese, then finished with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. According to Chef Beall, there are many ways that you can remix this traditional ingredient combination to make your offering unique.
- Choose the right cheese: look for a cheese that melts well, and is either stretchy or creamy. Pizza Mozzarella cheese is a no-brainer, and cheeses like Provolone, Bocconcini, Ricotta, and goat cheese are great picks too. For extra flavour, try mixing two or three varieties together!
- Pay attention to details: Brushing the exterior of the calzone with oil and adding seasoning makes for a crunchy, tasty crust. You can even grate Parmesan cheese on top for extra flavour and a more luxurious feel.
- Add a dipping sauce: Any sauce that complements your filling is a good option here: marinara, spicy tomato sauce, ranch, BBQ, or even a sauce made with Cheddar cheese.
- Offer variety: Just like pizza, calzones can be tailored to any type of customer, from carnivores to vegetarians to adventurous eaters who enjoy experimenting with innovative toppings.
- Create a calzone bar: Give diners the opportunity to choose their own sauce, a few toppings, and a cheese from a list of diverse options. Customizable takeout lunches and dinners are very on-trend right now, and made-to-order calzones can be ready in minutes. To increase your average eater cheque, you can also offer premium toppings that cost a little extra.
- Serve spinoff dishes: deep-fried calzones are great extra special offerings. Inspired by Italian “Panzerotti” and a distant cousin of the “pizza pocket,” they’re very easy to cook on the line, and play on customers’ nostalgia for a favourite dish from childhood. You can also try rolling your calzones into a log shape to create a Stromboli – an American take on the classic calzone.
Diversifying your menu doesn’t necessarily mean buying a whole new batch of ingredients! It can simply be a matter of folding your pizza dough differently, or adding one or two premium cheese options to your menu.
For more expert tips and insights just like this, subscribe to our newsletter, À LA CARTE!