Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Kirshenbaum.
Brian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Loving all things Chicago (especially pizza), back in 1999, I began perfecting my own deep dish pizza. I tried numerous recipes week after week, would eat one slice, sometimes only one bite and then pass the rest of to my neighbors. My neighbors loved me! I got close to what I thought was the perfect flavor and consistency but felt something was missing. With months of trial, the help of some of my more than willing taste testing friends, the Chef at Pizzeria Due (sister restaurant to Pizzeria Uno), my great pal the late Chef Stutz and a few others, I nailed it!
Having worked as a professional comedy magician since the age of 16, fast forward to 2012, I conceptualized a great dinner show experience where I am the cook and the entertainer. It only took that first try in early 2013 at a private party in Evanston to know, this is it! Magic by the Slice was born!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Pretty smooth. I mean, I went from transporting cooking equip and ingredients in cardboard boxes to now using nice plastic bins. I had to learn what size pizzas to cook, how many slices per guest, how to walk the line of food cost and quality etc. What to prep in advance, what to do on sight and how much to charge. Nothing difficult, just time consuming to get where I am today. The biggest challenge was figuring out exactly how to market, promote and prepare for growth.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Magic by the Slice – what should we know?
I’m known for 2 things, the flavor and quality of my deep-dish pizza and making people laugh as a comedy magician. I believe what makes my pizza unique is not just the flavor and consistency of the made from scratch crust (which is lighter and flakier than what you’ve had before) but my hand made sauce with imported Italian tomatoes, selection of artisan cheeses and quality of toppings. When I makes pizza for your guests, I make the dough that day, crush the tomatoes by hand to get the perfect consistency for the sauce and do my best to support local businesses when sourcing ingredients.
This idea of being proud is an interesting concept to me. I am not really proud of what I’ve done. I believe when you’re passionate and excited to share your gifts, talents and creativity with others, it simply makes sense. Magic by the Slice is just a natural progression for me. So instead of feeling proud, I will just say I feel grateful and honored that people invite me into their homes so I can share who I am and what I do to enhance the quality of their lives. I only hope I inspire others to do the same with their gifts and talents.
What sets me apart from others? I would have to ask you what sets any of us apart from anyone else? Life experiences, our perception of those experiences and what we do next based on that perception.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Jeff Hobson – my mentor and friend in comedy magic.
Roz – First party client that made me do it, making me realize you’ll never feel 100% ready to take the plunge but gotta do it. Gotta stop talking/thinking and start doing!
Family and friends – Entrepreneurship can be lonely when you’re a one-person operation. Gotta have people off of whom to bounce ideas and of course be willing to taste test new flavor profiles!
Chefs Stutz, Madarang, Young and Caporuscio – inspiration, information, guidance and expertise.
All my past and future clients.
- 6-12 ppl – 2 pizzas $400
- 13-18 ppl – 3 pizzas $450
- 19-24 ppl -4 pizzas $500
- Website: www.magicbytheslice.com
- Phone: 847-691-3401
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @magicbytheslice
- Facebook: @magicbytheslice
- Twitter: @magicbytheslice
Deb Moran of Deb Moran Photography and Lisa Versino of Coconut Dolly Photography