The idea of offering pizza at a bagel shop has led to a serendipitous development, according to Y.Y. Davis, owner-operator of Marx Hot Bagels. “We’ve been thinking about pizza for a long time,” he said, speaking about adding that item to other meal menu choices offered at his bagel-centric deli. So, when a specialized, used food truck came down the pike sporting a for-sale sign, it nicely intersected with another desire Davis had — to take his bagels on the road to events and such.
“It was a pizza truck (in its former life), and although the truck is older, the equipment on it, the pizza oven and other things we need are much newer, and so it was a good fit for us. This gives us a chance to do it (pizza) on a small scale; try it out and if we get good response, then maybe we’ll add pizza to the store,” he said. Marx food truck offers much more than just pizza to patrons. Other items include popular bagels and cream cheeses, tuna and egg salad, lox and more, but that pizza oven Davis mentioned was a main driver of the sale.
The truck purchase was finalized about three weeks ago, according to Davis. After a flurry of permit grants, scraping, cleaning, having the inside certified kosher by Rabbi Lazer Fischer, and stocking up with food items for a “soft” opening, off it went to a synagogue parking lot on Section Road in Amberly Village.
“Maybe the prudent thing to do would have been to slow things down and spend three months to get ready and plan and all the rest of it, but with Passover coming (the interview was the week prior to the holidays), I wanted to serve the community and give them another place to buy food on a week that lots of people don’t want to or don’t have time to cook (at home). So, we went ahead and launched in a soft opening,” Davis said, adding that he hoped patrons would realize he is still working to perfect the service and the offerings.
Already, the truck has proven what Davis suspected—that pizza is much-desired by his Jewish patrons, and just about everybody else on the North American continent. In fact, in the US slice of this pizza-loving continent, Americans eat more than 100 acres—yes, ACRES—of pizza a day! That is according to Lenny Bernstein, health reporter for the Washington Post. That adds up to three billion pizzas a year, and to do your individual part, that means you must consume 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza per annum. Forty-six slices are the average consumption of pizza for every man, woman, and child in the nation. Really, that is only four slices a month. So, no big deal, right? But back to Marx’ new truck.
“To start (on the truck), we decided to offer only cheese pizzas, and we settled on the 18-inch size for the food truck,” he said. He stated that veggie pizza choices will be added going forward, after he has had time to perfect them. Along with the cheese pizzas, the Marx truck featured five bagel types, plain, raisin-cinnamon, blueberry, sesame, and a combo variety, along with five types of cream cheese.
How did the soft opening go? Restaurant folks have a term for what happened: it’s “slammed,” as in “We got slammed.” Davis said this: “I estimated how many pizzas we would sell, and we were sold out in half the time (on the first day).” That proved true for many of the other items stocked on the food truck, including the bagels, the cream cheese, the salads, and the rest.
In the coming weeks, Marx’ food truck will receive an exterior makeover that will include bagel-related graphics and the Hot Bagels logotype. Davis envisions three opportunities for his newly acquired food truck. “One is at bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate gatherings, private parties and that sort of thing—events,” he said.
Another opportunity he mentioned is to park Marx’ food truck in an area at lunchtime, where the demographics show good numbers and interest in the bill of fare offered by Marx Hot Bagels. And the third opportunity is to offer steady service at a given spot (such as a synagogue parking lot), where people will know in advance that the Marx truck will be stationed from 4-7 p.m., say, on a given day of the week.
“I believe we need to serve the people (of the community) and this is just another way of doing that. Already, we are getting a whole new level of business that we don’t always attract in the store,” he said, speaking to the expanded market available to him by being mobile.
See you at the Marx Hot Bagels food truck location near you!
Marx Hot Bagels
9701 Kenwood Road
Blue Ash, OH 45242