Brozinni’s Pizzeria Debuts in Greenwood
Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Brozinni’s Pizzeria owner and New York native James Cross owned his own trucking company on the East Coast until the 2008 recession. That’s when he realized he didn’t want to stay in his current business and saw an opportunity to make a different kind of dough.
His trucking job made him a frequent visitor to Indiana, and he discovered there wasn’t a good, affordable pizza place in Greenwood. As a solution, he started his own.
“I thought a pizza business,” he said. “I always liked it, and I know a lot of people in it back east, so I decided to take a shot. [I] sold my business and basically took the money and started Brozinni’s.”
He built the restaurant and then spent a week visiting different friends in Pennsylvania and New York to accumulate knowledge and notes on how to make pizza and run a business.
“It’s kinda crazy when you think about it,” explained. “We built the restaurant out before we’d even cooked anything. I envisioned what I wanted my menu to look like and I envisioned what I wanted to put on it. I knew what pizzas that we had back east and I wanted to put those pizzas on our menu. I got lucky, I had some good guys who showed me what tomatoes to use and what pepperoni, what cheese and we just put it together.”
In the store’s first year, Cross continued to craft pizzas and learned how to make breadsticks as well as his signature garlic knuckles.
“That was a big thing. I used to notice everybody out here would ask ‘how are the breadsticks at this pizza place?’ and I was like, what’s the big thing with breadsticks?” Cross said. “Garlic knots are what we intended the knuckles to be, but we had a misprint and we stuck with knuckles.”
One of his mentors always told him to keep it simple, so the company doesn’t do any advertising besides word-of-mouth, the Internet and social media. Rock ovens used to be in the store, but now there are conveyor belts, which Cross thinks cook the pizza better and more consistent than the old ovens.
“There were mom and pop pizza shops all over where I grew up. [Now] you don’t have the young guys coming up through the family and their buddies working at the mom-and-pop pizza shops anymore, so those guys would learn how to cook it on the rock [oven],” Cross said. “That was a change for us.”
There are two other franchise locations in Nashville, IN and Seagrove, FL, as well as a food truck. During one of his visits back to New York, Cross saw an ice cream truck around his childhood neighborhood. He bought it, brought it to Indiana and sold ice cream for a number of years before selling it and building his own pizza truck, which goes everywhere from beer festivals to weddings. Cross said he hopes to franchise Brozinni’s Pizzerias around the Indianapolis area.
“[We’re] kinda making an Indiana product now,” he said. “We’re getting our name out there with the food truck and people are requesting us to come to Westfield and Carmel and all that, so eventually we’d like to franchise to those areas.”