World Pizza Champion Nick Bogacz started in the pizza industry as a delivery driver more than 20 years ago. In 2012, he founded Caliente Pizza & Draft House and has since expanded to five locations throughout the region. Along the way, he’s become a member of the World Pizza Team and a successful author and podcast creator. Get to know the pizza guru and Hampton resident.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
I’m a yinzer, so I’m always excited to attend a Steelers game (even this year). We’re in the middle of the holidays too, which means you might catch me ice skating around PPG rink — making pizza isn’t the only thing I do!
What is the best part of your job?
When you go from working five jobs to becoming an entrepreneur, it’s a nice feeling to be working for yourself. I’ve loved building a solid team and being in a position to create jobs. Giving back to the Pittsburgh community is also one of my top priorities. We’re currently holding our annual food drive benefitting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank — for every three items you bring in, we’ll give you a voucher for a free cheesy bread on your next visit.
What is your big idea for Pittsburgh?
Have a winning baseball team. Just kidding (kind of). In all seriousness though, I’d like to see a better public transportation system that connects more communities and more neighborhoods outside of the city. It’s a beautiful thing to have a cohesive and connected city.
Podcast you’re addicted to?
Being in the craft beer business, I listen to a lot of Breaking Brews. They cover the entire craft beer industry from the production process, the marketing, the culture — you name it. Another I’m on is the Ed Mylett Show. He holds some incredible insights and he definitely shares my “I will not quit” attitude. I also just started my own podcast, The Business Equation, where I talk about a lot of the challenges I faced as an entrepreneur and some of the strategies and tactics I used to overcome them. It’s a great listen for any aspiring business owner.
Who should be the unofficial Mayor of Pittsburgh?
I don’t like to get political, but I think we can all agree that Potato Pete would bring a new perspective to our city’s policies. He’s been wrongly accused of cheating time and time again and he deserves his chance in office.
Your not-so-secret Pittsburgh spot?
If you like Italian food, Verona Village Inn is the place to go. You get a major bang for your buck and you’ll be full for a week. I’m always bringing home leftovers, but don’t tell that to my wife Angie. That chicken parm is all mine.
What book would you highly recommend?
I recently wrote my first book, The Pizza Equation: Slicing Up How to Run a Successful Pizza Enterprise, on my trials and tribulations of getting to where I’m at in the pizza industry. I go through my journey every step of the way, from building a core team, to how I marketed Caliente, to the competitions we’ve recently won. It’s a great book for any aspiring pizzaiolo out there looking to learn the business side of things.
It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?
When things get hectic, I like to sit and meditate, maybe read a book. It brings me peace and allows me to clear my mind and refocus. If I want to get away, I’ll go to my camp in Kennerdell, PA and relax.
What’s been bugging you lately?
The weather! We went from a late summer to an early fall and we’re already dealing with snow – we’re in Pittsburgh though, so I don’t know what else I expected.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to in the past year and why?
I visited Naples, Italy in September for the Trofeo Caputo, one of the largest pizza events in the world, and WOW. It’s gorgeous. Right on the water and over 80 pizza vendors within a half-mile. Talk about utopia.