Some folks were born to be pizza makers. That’s especially true for Collin Brackin—he was literally born in the pizza shop he now owns.
“Some people are weirded out by it, but, to me, it’s a pretty cool story,” Brackin recently told East Idaho News.
When his parents first opened Pizza Stop Preston, located in Preston, Idaho, they lived in an apartment in the back of the restaurant while they were building a new house nearby. Brackin’s mother gave birth to him right there, in that very apartment, in the middle of a lunch rush.
He was one of eight kids, all of whom grew up working in the pizzeria. But when his parents were ready to retire this past January after 30 years of running the business, it was Brackin and his wife, Samantha King, who stepped up to take over.
Mom and Dad had their doubts at first, Brackin said in the East Idaho News interview. “They were a little weird at first about it. They were like, ‘Well, you don’t know how to do this, you don’t know how to do this,’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve been here my whole life, let me do it.’…I’ve been treating it like I was born into it.”
Most of Brackin’s siblings chose different career paths, although his oldest brother runs a different pizzeria. “So I’m the youngest brother running a pizza shop over here,” he said.
Not exactly lacking in confidence, Brackin says his breadsticks are “the best in the world. We’ve got cheese inside, cheese on top, and our homemade dip.” He’s also proud of a pizza featuring BBQ chicken, onion and pineapples. “I know people are gonna say [pineapple and onions] don’t go together, but come give it a shot.”
The Hog ‘n’ Honey is another top-seller, made with a BBQ sauce base, pork sausage, bacon and a honey drizzle. “We get bored here, eating the same thing all the time,” he said. “I ate the same pizza for six or seven years. Finally, I’m like, why don’t I put something different on it?”
While Pizza Stop Preston doesn’t have a website and its Instagram account has been dormant since June 2019, Brackin generously shares his pizza knowledge with the restaurant’s 12,600-plus followers on YouTube. In a video posted on April 25, he’s a pizzaiolo in perpetual motion, running the entire shop by himself while customers come and go. Calm and focused, he moves assuredly about the kitchen like a man on a mission, saucing, cheesing and topping pies at the prep table, peeling them into and out of the deck oven, and answering customers’ questions—a one-man pizza-making band.
That video has logged more than 1.4 million views. Pizza Stop Preston’s YouTube followers also check in to watch videos with titles like “From Dough to Dollars: How We Turned Pizza into $4,000 in 3 Hours,” in which Brackin and his staff work non-stop during a rush, and “Why This Pizza Is Selling Out Instantly,” where Brackin wordlessly makes a Hog ‘n’ Honey pie from start to finish. The final image of the baked pizza answers the question posed in the video’s title—because it looks absolutely delicious.
Consistency is the key to a hot-selling menu, Brackin told East Idaho News. “What I’ve found is that if we try and measure everything—if all the cups have the same amount of sauce, if all the breads have the same amount of cheese and butter and salt, everything in the exact same amount—there’s no reason that people shouldn’t come back. And then tie that in with our perfect service. I’ve got some of the best high school kids at night; they’re incredible, they’re just so happy. They run the service, and if you mix great food with great service, you have a great restaurant.”