BY JOSE CARDOSO
Hoping to bring people together during these tough times, the Pizza Cupcake, a Queens based-small family start-up, has been supporting their community even as it has seen a drop in business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 31, The Pizza Cupcake, has donated their unique pizza cupcakes through their initiative Support NYC. These cupcakes are donated to organizations and healthcare workers such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and NYU Langone Health, among others.
The eatery was founded by Michelle Jimenez-Meggiato, a first-generation Filipina-American, who came to New York City in 2006 for school. Andrea Meggiato, a native from Italy, has worked in the food industry for many years. They got married in September 2018.
While Andrea Meggiato decided to take some time off from the food industry, it was a short-lived decision and he returned.
“I decided to quit three years ago and go back into the food industry, it’s something I’ve always had a passion,” he said.
At first, he created pizza cupcakes at home. He showed his wife how to make them as well and they shared their creations with friends and family. The rest, as they say, is history.
But what is a pizza cupcake? According to the couple, the best and fresh pizza ingredients are put inside the dough, which isn’t traditional pizza dough. Instead, it’s a dough combined of pan brioche and sourdough, which allows the cupcake to have a fluffy texture that has a burst of flavor.
Their mission to help began when a group of nurses asked if they deliver, as they were customers from their Smorgasburg location in Brooklyn.
“A few nurses actually reached out to us,” Jimenez-Meggiato said. “They really loved the pizza cupcakes and they wanted to see if we were delivering — that’s when we launched our Support NYC initiative.”
Like many businesses, the Pizza Cupcake has taken a hit in their business. Their locations at the Smorgasburg and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, closed due to the pandemic. Their catering events were canceled. Their distribution center also had to shut down very suddenly.
They still had inventory from Smorgasburg, and they asked themselves, now what?
“There was an opportunity with e-commerce,” Jimenez-Meggiato said.
So, they changed their website and adapted an e-commerce approach and relaunched on March 27.
“It was really successful,” Jimenez-Meggiato said. “We did really well. For the next month we did over 500 orders. “We were then able to give back to the community through the purchases of the 24-packs.”
The success of the Pizza Cupcake didn’t stop there, and as more orders came in, the amount of donations — funded by customer purchases — grew, as well.
However, their biggest accomplishment, according to Jimenez-Meggiato, was hearing positive feedback from nurses, doctors and others.
“The Pizza Cupcake really brought joy and happiness and they were really excited to taste something delicious,” she said. “We want to share love, one bite at a time, even with social distancing, that’s what the Pizza Cupcake is all about, bringing people together.”
They are continuing to offer donations and hope to expand and offer nationwide shipping — they currently only deliver in the East Coast.
One thing couple is looking forward to as New York City moves closer to reopening is being able to interact with their customers, and “have that human connection that we haven’t been able to have for three months now.”
For more information or to place orders, visit pizzacupcake.com.
This story first appeared on qns.com.