The goal of co-founders Al Contarino and George Peters was not to just build a product and a company, but to create US jobs. Both men are inventors and share a passion for design. When they met years ago they hit it off immediately - before they knew it two hours had passed discussing different design aspects that would normally have others rolling their eyes.
Al had been working on a new type of gas grill designed to maintain heat when the lid was removed. Frustrated with the challenges of licensing his grill to a major manufacturer he realized he needed to develop something that he could manufacture. After his first prototype and collaborations with George, Kettle Pizza was born.
Their first product was made completely by hand and they sold their first Kettle Pizza online. A number of design changes have happened in their short 4 years of designing Kettle Pizza and according to George, "if you compared the original design to today's design it is like comparing a Model-T to a Ferrari".
The KettlePizza installs between the top and bottom of your kettle grill and uses the grate of your kettle grill as the floor of the cooking chamber. They have a number of videos on their site kettlepizza.com on proper cooking instructions and pizza recipes. I like the video here which shows you how to cook a pizza in 25 seconds!
I caught up with George on the phone and below is what he had to say.
TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR GRILLS?
We are located in Groveland, Massachusetts which has a population of about 6,000. The facility is a combination office and warehouse assembly facility. It is the third place we've moved to in 5 years. It's a little over 6,000 square feet and we are looking to expand again. We share the building with other companies and they can always smell our pizzas when we are using and testing our grills.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MANUFACTURE IN THE USA?
We work with great companies here in the US such as a facility in Fall River, MA and a company in Hudson, NY that has the laser that cuts our steel. We can throw our designs up on the board, send it out close by and see if it works. We can get it to production much sooner. And we know that the materials used in the initial design will be the same materials used in the final product. There are no surprises. We are a big supporter of American Made.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO SOURCE YOUR MATERIALS IN THE UNITED STATES?
Some were more difficult than others. We had to customize some of the components for Kettle Pizza. We had to beat the streets and find products to have designed to our specifications. If you look hard you can find it. Every component is USA made except for the thermometer and I am still looking for one.
I PROMISED GEORGE THAT I WOULD KEEP MY EYES OPEN FOR A USA MADE THERMOMETER- SO IF YOU KNOW OF ANY OUT THERE LET US IN ON THE SECRET!
Photos courtesy of Kettle Pizza.