THING: Best pizza ever
Place: The Cloverleaf World Famous Pizza
Most popular pizza: Monster
Number of Monster pizzas sold: 9,398
Total number of pizzas sold: 74,679
Every crust: Handmade fresh daily
Only one thing could keep me away from The Cloverleaf prior to 2004, and that was the smoke. I couldn't afford awesome pizza and shiny quarters for the laundry machines. I hated the way we all smelled after exiting a wonderful night at The Cloverleaf.
Thankfully, The Cloverleaf's new owner as of 2004, Debbie Manke, had the balls to take a customer poll - then backing it up by becoming a completely non-smoking establishment when her customers responded.
At the time, it was not illegal to smoke in a restaurant. The statewide ban on smoking indoors in Washington didn't come until late 2005. It was Manke who saw the light and decided to ask her customers whether they wanted The Cloverleaf to become non-smoking.
An overwhelming 70 percent said yes, and so The Cloverleaf became entirely non-smoking.
"The servers were so happy. They didn't have to touch dirty ashtrays anymore or go home to shower before going out with friends after work," Manke says. "Employee illnesses went down and sales immediately increased by 25 percent."
Having worked at Cloverleaf Pizza since 2002 while her father-in-law, Lennard Manke, was owner from 1971-2004, Manke tells me, "2004 was the first time in my life I saw a pregnant woman at Cloverleaf."
After drilling Manke about how many Cloverleaf Monster pizzas were sold in 2011 (see above), a number she surprisingly provided me with immediately, I asked her about the origins of The Cloverleaf's infamous pizza crust recipe.
Manke tells me The Cloverleaf's original owner, Larry Turco, created the recipe, but somehow never wrote it down.
So how do we know it's the right recipe? How do the employees know how to make it? Is it true other restaurants know, and still use, The Cloverleaf crust recipe for their own pizzas?
Well guess what? I suckered Debbie Manke into bringing Volcano Radio some Cloverleaf pizza for this week's show. Hells yeah. We'll ask her all the daunting questions concerning her crust recipe and just how valid it is.
Give us a listen Thursday from 8-9 p.m. on nwczradio.com for her answers. If you happen to be too busy for that, download the Volcano Radio podcast come Friday every week.
But let's be honest, you have nothing better to do. Admit it.
[The Cloverleaf, 6430 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.565.1111]