- After founding Giuseppe’s Pizza & Pasta House in 1984, Steve Carb went on to build a restaurant company that is now the largest employer on Hilton Head Island.
- Carb invented Throw Dough in the early 1990s to improve his dough-tossing skills. It’s now used by pizzaioli and pizza acrobats worldwide.
Steve Carb, a veteran restaurateur and the inventor of Throw Dough, passed away from cancer at the age of 63 on October 8, leaving a legacy as a respected entrepreneur, visionary and mentor to many in the restaurant industry.
Born in Pittsburgh on November 5, 1958, Carb lived most of his adult life on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he founded numerous restaurant concepts through his company, the Southeast Entertainment and Restaurant Group (SERG). He opened his first restaurant, Giuseppi’s Pizza Plus, in Montecito, California, after graduating from Edinboro University with a degree in business and marketing. A few years later, he moved to Hilton Head Island and started over, working as a dishwasher while studying for his real estate license. He became a top-selling agent for Marriott Ownership Resort, but food remained his passion.
In 1984, Carb opened a Giuseppi’s Pizza Plus location—now called Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House—on Hilton Head Island. Recognizing that vacationers were looking for more dining options on the island, he set out to meet that demand, Alan Wolf, president of SERG, told the Post and Courier. “He was able to create those different experiences by having not a replication of restaurants, but all these different concepts.”
In the pizza industry, those concepts include Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta House locations on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and Macon, Georgia. Other Hilton Head restaurant concepts include One Hot Mama’s American Grille, Frankie Bones Restaurant & Lounge, the Black Marlin Bayside Grill & Hurricane Bar, Charbar, Nectar Farm Kitchen, and WiseGuys Restaurant and Wine Bar.
SERG is Hilton Head Island’s largest employer, with more than 1,300 employees in 19 locations, according to WSAV-TV.
In the early 1990s, Carb invented Throw Dough, a soft plastic with a silicon base and the texture and feel of hand-tossed dough. As a pizzeria owner always looking to improve his craft, he worked for months in his basement to develop the formula, then used it to practice tossing dough.
Popular with adults and kids alike, Throw Dough is now used by pizza makers and pizza acrobats around the world to improve their dough-spinning skills, both for their restaurants and for acrobatic competitions produced by PMQ’s U.S. Pizza Team.
In addition to food, Carb loved reading, swimming, boxing, skiing, traveling and spending time with his family, friends and dogs.
Carb even inspired his nephew, Adam Carb, to get into the pizza business. Adam co-owns Steel City Pizza, with locations in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Carnes Crossroads, South Carolina. The pizzeria is based on one of his uncle’s concepts, Adam Carb told the Post and Courier. “I always had the itch to follow in his footsteps,” he said. Steel City Pizza is “the neighborhood pizza place where we make great memories around food.”
Friends and business partners have their own great memories of Carb himself. As a restaurateur, he “loved everything, from the architecture to the interior design and lighting to the making of the menu to the marketing,” SERG Group Partner Rob Jordan told the Post and Courier. “Every aspect he was involved with—that’s what he loved to do.”
“His legacy is that he molded so many people and has made them better and their lives better,” Tony Arcuri, another SERG group partner, told WSAV.
Life without Carb “will be different,” Jordan said in the WSAV interview. “It won’t be as dynamic. It won’t be as much fun. There was only one Steve Carb. They broke the mold when he came on this earth.”