As PMQ celebrates its 20th anniversary, we honor the past and look forward to the future in this special oral history.
PMQ’s founders and longtime team members reflect on two decades of progress, pranks, pitfalls and pizza.
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Putting in a good word
“The most important part of the pizza journey, the part that lasts, is the friendships we forge with likeminded colleagues. PMQ has given me an opportunity to first read about, and eventually work with, some of the greats of the American pizza scene, including Tony Muia, Gino and Lenny Rago, Michael LaMarca, and many other talented entrepreneurs and pizza makers. The memories of inaugurating the new test kitchen in Oxford, speaking on the pizza cruise, and epic pizza crawls in Chicago with Liz and Tracy are a vital part of my personal pizza highlight reel.”
— John Arena, co-owner, Metro Pizza, Las Vegas
Tracy: PMQ isn't just a job to me; it's a family. Not only among our own employees (Steve and Linda Green have become like parents to me), but in the bigger family of the entire pizza industry. I've traveled the world eating pizza, and almost without exception, pizzeria owners welcome me to their businesses, happily feed me way too much food, and share with me their successes, challenges and dreams for the future. We've never been a staff that sits tucked away in a sterile office, thinking we know what's happening out there in the industry; we're so hands-on, constantly meeting operators to better serve them, and I think that really sets us apart.
Linda: Our industry is so family-oriented; it really inspires me. If you look at our magazines, it’s always about a person, not a piece of food. There’s a story, a person on the cover. We have great people in this industry, and we like to celebrate their stories and their lives. We’re proud of them. Pizza is a people business.
Steve: It’s been a roller coaster ride—very challenging and very satisfying. But we’ve really just followed our customers, our readers: What are they doing? What’s happened as a result of following our audience is that we’ve never been more connected than we are today. We have print, web, video, our newsletter, and interaction at the store level because we travel so much. We bathe ourselves in the industry because it’s fun, and because we want to learn and share as much as we can.
Liz: When I first joined PMQ as associate editor in 2007, I had no idea that pizza could sneak in and take over my life. Now, I've become a poster child for pizza among my social circle. I could probably start a pizza-themed retail store with all of the pizza paraphernalia I have. It’s kind of overtaken my home. My pizza book, Pizza: A Slice of American History, came about when a publisher contacted John Arena, from Metro Pizza in Las Vegas, to write a book about pizza. He told them to contact me. You never know what will happen when you meet a pizzeria operator!