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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Linda: Running a pizzeria and a pizza magazine are very similar; both require a lot of attention to detail. We know it’s important to have good writers, information, products. And Steve has always listened to the readers. I actually fantasize about opening a pizzeria. I love people, and I love food, and we know so much about pizza. But it’s kind of ironic—I don’t like to cook!
Rick Hynum, editor-in-chief: I was the former editor-in-chief of Nightclub & Bar Magazine and had moved back and forth between newspapers and magazines for most of my career. I joined PMQ as the associate editor in late 2011. My first six or so months here were challenging, not because of the work itself, but because I was constantly staring at pictures of pizzas and reading pizza recipes and thinking and writing about pizza, so all I wanted to do was eat pizza. I've always loved pizza, but I never realized just what a weakness I had for it until I became immersed in pizza journalism. About six months after I started here, Liz decided to branch out and do other things, so I became editor-in-chief and quickly established myself as the resident pain-in-the-neck, always pushing deadlines and trying to get us ahead and stay ahead.
Putting in a good word
“As the inventor of the Pizza Diet, I have dedicated my career to changing the image of pizza from a junk food to a health food. I entered this industry 13 years ago with no restaurant experience or culinary background. Discovering the PMQ.com website was my lifeline in 2004, as I was able to find creative pizza recipes, marketing ideas, dough proofing techniques, and countless relevant tips. Undoubtedly, PMQ saved my career, and I will forever be grateful to the PMQ family. Thank you to the countless pizzaiolos who have selflessly dedicated their knowledge to PMQ over the past 20 years. I’m honored to share this journey with you all!”
— Matt McClellan, founder, Tour De Pizza, St. Petersburg, Florida
Tom: I had gone off to publish the Australia edition of PMQ, but when the economy tanked, their restaurant economy didn’t recover as it did here. At that point, I thought, “I want to go back to PMQ.” This is a fun business. It’s pizza. In what other job do you have a full-blown pizzeria in the back of the office? It’s hard to stay away. People in this industry are having the time of their lives, and we’re in the fortunate position of getting to witness and document it. They had an opening for sales, and having been an editor has really helped me talk to businesses that want to sell to pizzerias—I know what operators are doing and what they need. We’re not some big corporate magazine. We’re a tight-knit family.
Liz: People say, “How many things can you say about pizza?” But it’s constantly changing. Working with people who are constantly curious, with constant ideas, like Steve Green, is great—you learn to never stop looking and searching. Even if an idea doesn’t work out, Steve will try it. And that’s how operators should be, too.
Linda: Steve believed in video before it was popular. It’s amazing to me. In the early days of PizzaTV, he wanted to get a video out on DVD. We spent probably a year producing it, and it was so expensive; I probably cried when I had to write the check for this DVD. But Steve is not afraid to try new things. He’d be one of the first men to walk on the moon. He’s so curious about our industry, and he’s not afraid to discover new things. When Steve Jobs created the first online order delivery for pizza in the mid-’90s, he was there.
Steve: I think my curiosity is my biggest weapon. That’s another reason I like this industry—there are a lot of curious people. I get adrenaline when I go to a trade show. I want to know the latest ideas; that’s what drives me. I want to live in a world of ideas. And I’ve had some pizza that’s so good, it almost made me cry.