Connectivity is important to us. We believe that people should know where their food comes from. For more than a decade, we have committed ourselves to sourcing the highest quality organic produce and putting it into the hands of the people. Oftentimes, that's through our wonderful restaurant partners across Colorado— ones that share our mission for organic food. These partner spotlights are meant to champion those businesses that are helping make dining in Colorado a more heathy, sustainable (and delicious!) experience.
It doesn't get much more transparent than Sazza. This restaurant, serving delicious pizzas and salads, has an entire interactive webpage dedicated to their sourcing, showing customers where every single ingredient on their menu comes from.
We've been working with Sazza since we started, helping source more than 60 of their ingredients—including romaine, tomatoes, lemons, limes, cucumbers, red onions and more. We think Sazza's Marketing Director Juliet Noory said it best— "I think it would be easier to ask 'what don't we get from Grower's Organic?'"
We caught up with Juliet and Sazza owner Jeff Rogoff to ask some questions about organic produce, working in the restaurant industry and what Sazza is serving that you can look forward to this summer.
Why is organic produce so important to Sazza's success and core values?
Juliet: Using Organic produce is honestly the truest expression of who we are as a restaurant. From the inception of Sazza, it was the way our owner Jeff lived his life everyday, and it was important to be able to bring his kids to a restaurant that he felt comfortable having them eat the food that is being served.
Sazza has a true passion for food that is grown and harvested sustainably, and that allows us to create, prepare and serve the best to our customers. I think one of our tag lines says it all. Get L.O.S.T (local, organic, sustainable, transparent) in the flavors of Sazza!
Jeff: When we started Sazza over 11 years ago, most people thought we were nuts to offer a staple of American food, pizza, with the attached stigma of organic. At that time, organic often meant hippie, and pizza was a relatively inexpensive item. We didn’t want the hippie vibe and our pizza, while fairly priced, was going to be on the high end. The wave of Neapolitan pizza places and high end pizza was just slowly getting off the ground at this time.
The bottom line is, we didn’t care about any of that. We were going to do organic, because my partner at the time, Jennifer Hayes, and our family lived an organic lifestyle. There was no way we were going to compromise, and thankfully we didn’t. Our timing just happened to be pretty good, with the wave of organic and local heating up as well as higher end pizza starting to take off. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Fortunately, I think we were lucky with our timing and we put out a product that people liked and wanted.
Why do you choose to work with Grower's Organic?
Juliet: I would say because they embody the definition of what the word organic and community really mean! Brian and Grower's Organic have been a constant support over the years, and they truly care about each and everyone of their customers. Their company’s passion for fresh, local, high quality produce goes hand-in-hand with who and what Sazza is all about. I would call what we have a symbiotic relationship— it's essential and provides a balance that is achieved by us working together.
And it shows. All of our menu items contain ingredients that we source from Grower's Organic—from our farm fresh salads to our signature pizzas, you name it. We know that Grower's Organic has touched the lives of our customers everyday by supplying us with the best organic produce from local Colorado farmers.
Jeff: Service, quality and consistency. As a restaurateur, you don’t want to have to worry about your distributor not bringing your food or it not being consistent. I want to spend my time with the customer and not constantly worrying about where I’m going to get great tomatoes for my salad. Working with Brian is a dream for us. He cares and it shows in his work ethic. You know when the owner of a company is delivering your food because his driver called in sick, he cares. His staff has consistently been amazing, kind and helpful. What more could you ask for. It’s great supporting a local company that you believe in and they deliver on their promises of supplying a top-notch product. I don’t get that kind of service from the national companies.
What do you wish people knew about organic produce?
Juliet: So much! Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. It is fresher and full of flavor. Simply put, it is what food should taste like. It is better for the environment because organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility and use less energy. I could go on and on…
From a consumer stand-point, organically-grown produce is higher in nutritional content. It is better for your body. For example, tomatoes are higher in antioxidants which can help in reducing heart disease and developing cancer.
Jeff: You can afford to eat organically, it is not out of most people’s price range. A few minor adjustments to one’s budget can make it quite easy to live an organic lifestyle. I wish people understood the impact agribusiness is having on our land and on the health of people. If we ate organic and lived a healthier lifestyle, the money spent on organic food would be made up tenfold thru the savings in our health care, and can you really put a price on your health?
What dishes are you most excited about this summer?
Juliet: There's three in particular!
1. Heirloom Tomato Salad: CO Heirloom tomatoes, romaine, bacon, avocado tossed with our creamy buttermilk ranch, topped with fresh chives & croutons
2. Bruschetta Pizza: garlic oil, lemon-tomato-kalamata olive bruschetta, fresh mozzarella, arugula
3. CO Peach Cobbler Dessert Pizza (coming late July!): Colorado Peaches, brown sugar butter, streusel topping, finished with mascarpone Chantilly cream.
Jeff: Our seasonal dessert pizza featuring Palisade peaches is always a crowd favorite and last year’s peaches were one of the best harvests I can remember. I’m getting hungry thinking about those peaches…
We also just started to make our own ice cream at the new location in Stanley Marketplace. So we are definitely going to use the Palisade peaches in a seasonal ice cream. It’s also fun getting those amazing Colorado heirlooms. They look beautiful and our customers absolutely love them on our seasonal summer salad. I can’t wait to see what Brian and his crew have in store for us this summer!
Sazza has two locations—one on Greenwood Village and another inside Stanley Market in Aurora—for more information on their menu and hours, click here.