BUSINESS BUZZ: Pizza in Paris still the preferred pizza in Mecosta County
PARIS — For eight years in-a-row, Pizza in Paris has been awarded the title of having the best pizza in Mecosta County, but for owners Casey and Megan Councilor, it goes much deeper than dough, sauce and toppings.
Every single pizza that comes out of the industrial-sized ovens receives the same craft and care that the Councilors know their customers have come to expect over the years.
From kneading the dough, to boxing up the hot pies after they come out of the kitchen, all the way to the very last bite taken, it is all about the craft.
“We’re fussy about what we want done back there (in the kitchen),” Casey Councilor said. “Every pizza, we want to be done the exact same, so we’re hoping that we make a good, consistent product over and over.”
Councilor said he thinks it is consistency that eventually leads to success for any business owner and part of what sets Pizza in Paris apart from other establishments.
This, coupled with the extent the Councilors go to to ensure every pizza will be made with the freshest quality ingredients all the time.
Not cutting any corners with the ingredients and always using the best product available is part of what makes the pizzas taste the way they do and what keeps the customers coming back again and again.
“We put a lot of extra time and work into making these pizzas what they are,” Casey said. “We could make it a lot easier if we wanted to use cheaper products. I can get a bag of onions that’ve been chopped up and could have been sitting in the factory in Grand Rapids for two months, and before there, it was sitting somewhere else for four.”
Councilor said settling for anything less than this is simply out of the question for the crew at Pizza in Paris, adding that he would rather not offer a menu item, than try and replicate it with subpar fixin’s.
Every single topping that goes on one of the Councilor’s pizzas is fresh and up to standard.
“There’s a lot you can do to cheapen it up if you want to,” Casey said. “If you want the best pizza, where we basically craft this thing the same every time, then this (pizza) is what you want; we’re not going to short you.”
While the fresh ingredients used might require a higher price than other pizza places, the owners are adamant that the customer will always get the full value of the product offered.
“With this pizza, you can eat two pieces and be full,” Casey said. “It might be a little more than some pizzas you’re going to see around this area. You can get a 16-inch pizza from here and an order of breadsticks and you can feed your family of four.”
With a deep menu filled with more than just pizza, Pizza in Paris truly has every individual patron in mind when it comes to satisfying their respective taste buds.
In fact, Casey and Megan go to great lengths to cater to the taste buds of every customer.
Casey said people know when they’re getting a product that’s less than what they’ve come to expect.
“I’ve gone to Detroit to get some breadsticks before just to get the right ones — it’s crazy,” Casey said. “That’s what I think separates Pizza in Paris from anybody. If I get used to a certain product, that’s what I want.”
Persevering through a pandemic
Locally owned businesses, especially restaurants, across the United States have been tasked with making it through a litany of closures and regulations for the better part of a year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pizza in Paris has been no exception.
As it stands, the Councilors’ only means of serving up pies to the people is via their walk-up pickup window, located on the side of the building.
“It stinks that we can’t have people in here, because we like that family atmosphere; it makes the job a little more fun,” Casey said. “It just makes the whole process take a little longer, and we’re already jamming that oven with as many pizzas as we can.”
On a typical night prior to COVID-19, the booths and tables inside of Pizza in Pizza would be filled with satisfied customers — many of them regulars — with their families and friends.
Megan Councilor said the pandemic has had a trickle-down effect on the business, all the way down to the availability and cost of the ingredients used.
She also said most of their dine-in customers would typically come in for lunch and added that it’s been difficult not getting to see and speak with them as much as before.
“Sometimes our food reps are out of our products,” she said. “They could be out of cheese, or our cheese costs went up over 50%. We won’t substitute that — we’re not going to risk serving (something) up to our standards.”
After the plethora of difficulties faced by the Councilors and their staff during the previous 10 months, they’re keeping their heads up and moving into the new year with high hopes.
“We’re keeping our head above water in these tough times, and if you can make it now, I think you can make it through anything,” Casey said. “Our customers love this place and they stand behind us like no other; there’s so many good people around here that are out to help local businesses and we try doing the same.”
Pizza in Paris is located at 21970 Northland Drive and can be reached at (231) 527-1424.
Wed-Sat: 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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