Image of chicken tikka masala 4 hands.
What if frozen pizzas were more like craft beers?
In 2019, that question sparked a collaboration between two St. Louis culinary giants, Mama Lucia’s pizza and 4 Hands Brewing Co. The two created a line of frozen pizzas inspired by St. Louis restaurants and food, from a pie with a Lion’s Choice crust fries on an Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets pizza.
“[When] this started, it was going to be something like craft beers, [rotating] in restaurants over time,” says Scott Ashby, president of Mama Lucia’s.
But with the pandemic, things came to a standstill. But no more.
This week, Mama Lucia’s and 4 Hands announced that three new pizzas made in collaboration with local places will be added to the list:
- A chicken tikka masala pizza from Rasoi of India, featuring a naan-like crust and tikka masala sauce, chicken, peppers, onions and mozzarella.
- A gyro pizza from Michael’s Bar & Grill, which will have gyro meat, Tzatziki sauce, red onions, tomatoes and mozzarella.
- A cheeseburger-inspired pizza from Hi-Pointe Drive-In, featuring a beer crust, cheeseburger sauce, patty, tomatoes, bacon, onion, cheddar and mozzarella.
The new flavors should be at the Schnucks and Dierbergs markets on Friday, and 4 Hands will be giving away slices of the new pies from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28 at the La Salle Park tasting room (1220 South Eighth Street, 314-436-1559, 4handsbrewery.com). Prices vary depending on the store.
Developing the pizzas for the 4 Hands line is fun, says Ashby. He aligns with the company’s new motto: a distinctly different pizza maker.
“We can be quite creative and we’re doing things that you can’t find on the market anywhere else,” he says.
Getting these new pizzas from the drawing board to the stores was not a very long process. Mama Lucia has had some back and forth with the restaurants in an attempt to make the pizzas as true to what they are doing as possible. But she, she points out, none of them sell pizza. So this is a matter of interpretation. She points to the naan dough on the tikka masala pizza, which has the same ingredients as a restaurant’s naan bread. However, it’s not exactly like a restaurant naan.
“It’s a little different than a normal crust,” says Ashby. “It has a nice taste.”
For those who don’t think pizza can be anything other than traditional dough, red sauce, and cheese, Ashby points out that they are definitely pizzas, even if they are unique.
“If you liked these restaurants, I’m pretty sure you’ll like these pizzas,” he says. “They’re definitely a bit different. But for adventurers, I think you’ll find they’re really good.”
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