“We’re going to be on Shark Tank tonight at 9pm.” That’s one of the first things we were told as we walked into Table 87 yesterday.
“What?!” I questioned. “Really?!”
If you’re familiar with the show, you’d know that there hasn’t been a pizza pitch potentially ever, and the frozen food pitches there have been have mostly been rejected because the judges aren’t fans of frozen products.
As we sat down to dinner we marveled at the bizarre timing, because truthfully if we hadn’t gone out to eat on Friday we’d be watching the show in real time. Instead, Harrison and I sat down to dinner with our good friends and got to enjoy the fresh pizza in lieu of the frozen pizza the owner was pitching on the show that night (pre-recorded of course) as a breakout business concept.
We opted for two 12” pizzas, along with octopus (which came highly recommended), rice balls, an arugula salad and pappardelle with steak tips. Our server assured us that we couldn’t go wrong with any of the pizza options, and we’d be back the following week to try the others. We settled on a burrata margherita pie with spicy Calabrese sausage (also known as Nduja, who knew!) and the fig, speck, arugula, mozzarella and San Marzano tomato pie.
None of our choices disappointed, though I would say the pizza was far superior to the pasta. The ultimate standout? The burrata with the spicy sausage. Let’s be real. Burrata is always a beautiful addition to a pizza, or even on its own, but I’ve never had it with sausage and it created a smooth yet spicy taste balanced with the crispy coal-fired crust. It was almost reminiscent of buffalo flavoring, and if you know me well, you’d know I love buffalo anything.
“Did you guys get a deal on Shark Tank?” we asked our server after prioritizing eating every slice but one. He refused to tell us (likely they had signed a nondisclosure) but Twitter later revealed that multiple sharks were “in.”
I caught up on the episode today, and it turns out the sharks did bite for Table 87’s bid.
Thomas Cucco, the owner of Pizza 87, was requesting $200k for 10% equity. His concept: Frozen slices of Table 87’s pizza made with fresh mozzarella, fontina cheese, olive oil and fresh basil. They’re currently sold in 250 supermarkets, Whole Foods included, but Thomas was looking to scale.
“You can’t get quality pie frozen. I decided I was going to change all that,” Thomas told the sharks.
In order to expand, Thomas needed funding for extra ovens so he can take the cooking out of his brick and mortars (there’s one in Brooklyn Heights and another in Gowanus).
The suggested retail price for one slice is $4.99; $23 for a 13” pie. Beyond supermarkets, the pizza is also being sold online at Goldbely.com, Amazon.com and will soon be sold on FreshDirect. It’s worth noting though that they’ve garnered 1 star on Amazon, with most customers complaining about the $35 cost of shipping.
The sharks though were much more keen on the product:
“I eat a lot of pizza, it’s actually a very healthy food,” said Robert Herjavec, but he ultimately saw it as too risky. “I’m out”
“The idea’s not worth $2 million,” said Mr. Wonderful.
Barbara Corcoron was in at $200k for a 30% stake.
Mr. Wonderful also gave an offer: $200k with royalty of 25 cents per slice until he’s paid back $600k.
But Lori Greiner had the best offer:
“I absolutely love it. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse” Her offer? $250k for a 20% stake.
Always the last shark to speak, Mark Cuban said: “I think your gold mine is on demand [online]. FreshDirect is where you should stick. I’m out.”
That left Thomas with three offers to choose from. He negotiated Lori down to an 18.5% stake and they had a deal!
So if you’re not lucky enough to live blocks away from Table 87, you can still buy the pies (or slices) online or in stores. So no need to be in NYC to get a New York slice… but it will cost you.