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California Pizzeria Offers Free Large Pizzas in Exchange for Phone-Free Dining

A Fresno, California fusion pizzeria will grant or donate a large free pizza pie to groups of diners who will put away their cell phones during mealtime.

A California pizzeria is offering free large pizzas of any kind, even specialty pies, at a discount: “Talk to Each Other.”

The Curry Pizza Company will grant free pies to groups of at least four customers who are willing to lock away their smartphones in a locker. By the time they finish their pizzas without checking their phones, the group will qualify for a free large pizza on their next visit. If they choose, they can donate the free pizza to feed the homeless in downtown Fresno.

The pizzeria co-owner, DJ Varinder Mahli, was inspired by his own life. As a father of five children he wanted to spend quality time with them so he began locking away his phone at home.

“It worked out great,” Mahli said. “We spend more time outside together than sitting on a sofa while I’m on my phone.”

He then worked with K.B. Brar to make a video for a social media launch of this unique discount.

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Ever since this special began on May 17, the pizzeria, with its 25 tables, has donated 40 to 50 pizzas every other week which rounds out to 90 to 100 pizzas a month.

“This happens even when customers don’t donate,” Mahli said.

He noticed a vast difference since his discount began: the customers are talking more, spending quality time with each other.  He is happy that his discount garnered national media attention, and he hopes that more restaurants would adopt this.

The pizzeria is three years old, and Mahli said they will open one more in Visalia, California.

“We’re planning on opening about three to five more restaurants within the next two years,” he said.

Mahli is a DJ by profession who has traveled across the United States, and his career inspired the fusion pizzeria that combines Indian and Italian cuisines. For example, their butter chicken and chicken tikka masalas are their most popular pies.

All of their specialty pies feature Indian recipes like curry, tandoori, and desi as well as paneer. Each are made with homemade custom sauces.

“I always wanted to do a restaurant,” he said. “Myself, my wife, and my sister came up with recipes and started this business. We have an open challenge to all pizzerias across the United States that none can put as many toppings as we do. Our family-size pizza is around five pounds, and our family-size pepperoni pizza (Goodfellas Mega Pepperoni) contains over a hundred pepperonis. We’re known for quality and loaded pizzas.”

He added: “Special shout-out to Navi Jag Manvir for always making the best pizzas.”