Dagwood's in Spirit Lake, Iowa, has a Reuben pizza, Domino's Pizza has a Philly Cheese Steak pizza, and Breadeaux Pizza in Springfield, Mo., has a BLT Pizza.
Are these pizzas acting like sandwiches, or sandwiches acting like pizzas?
Burke's northwest U.S. regional sales manager, Tony Taylor, said he sees a number of operators doing sandwiches and believes that there is a lot of opportunity here for a great menu item.
"(Sandwiches) need to be impressive enough to make a guy think, 'Wow, that's a sandwich!' " said Taylor. "If you look at what's going on in the sandwich segment, you can see the opportunity for pizza operators."
Keys to "wow" sandwiches, Taylor said, include serving them hot and using high-quality breads.
"You want to make them unique with the best quality ingredients you can get, and you want to add your own twist to them," said Taylor. "Serving it hot makes a statement."
Just as pizzas and sandwiches can mirror each other, many operators are doing the same with pizzas and salads.
Ann Reichle, co-owner of Angelina's Pizza in North Olmsted, Ohio, runs a few "salad" pizzas during the summer months, including:
· Chicken Caesar pizza: garlic butter base sauce, roasted chicken breast, bacon, black olives and provolone, baked and finished with romaine lettuce and a swirl of Caesar dressing.
· BLT Pizza: mayonnaise base sauce, bacon and provolone, baked and finished with fresh tomatoes and a mayonnaise dressing.
· Barbeque Chicken Salad pizza: a barbecue sauce base, chicken, bacon, red onion and provolone, baked and finished with lettuce and a swirl of barbecue sauce.
The menu at Choo Choo Charlie's Pizza in Dubuque, Iowa, reflects the reverse: how pizza toppings are finding a home in salads. Owner Paul Connor lends some heft to his greens with toppings such as pre-grilled chicken and cooked, seasoned taco meat.
"A chicken topping I use for my barbecue chicken pizza is used for a grilled chicken salad and for our Mexican chicken mole pizza," said Conner.
His latest creation is a Greek Gyro Salad, which uses Burke's Gyro-style Beef Topping. "I got the idea for it in Burke's cookbook, and I'm really pleased with it. It's certainly not a traditional Greek salad, but it's a nice twist."
Yield: 4 servings
Yogurt salad dressing: