There’s something new in St. Louis. Something so incredibly delicious you must try it. If you’re wondering what tantalizing thing we are referring to—its Cork-n-Slice. A wood fire bistro tucked inside the Central West End with a delectable pizza menu that is beyond inviting. DELUX caught up with the owner, Niddy—to talk entrepreneurship, being an influencer, and stepping into his newest role as a restaurateur.
DELUX MAGAZINE: Tell our readers what made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
CS: My mom was and still is an entrepreneur. She has always been one since I was younger. She pushed me and has raised me to become one as well. She is one of the reasons why I became such a hardworking entrepreneur because that’s exactly what she was. She never wanted me to work a regular job. She always wanted me to think of a business to start.
DM: I’m always curious about how restaurants get their names. Where did the name of your restaurant derive from?
CS: I wanted something simple and catchy that represents what we are doing.
DM: What lead you to open a restaurant? Have you always wanted to be a restauranteur?
CS: I am a foodie at heart and I LOVE food. I’ve always been very passionate about owning my own restaurant. This has always been a dream of mine—I plan to eventually have a restaurant bigger than this.
DM: I know you mentioned you were a foodie, are you a pizza lover or was that just the type of business you wanted to open?
CS: Everything in the restaurant was left here from the previous owners and of course I added my creativity to it to make it everything I wanted it to be. So, it was pretty much equipped with items like the oven from the previous restaurant which made it a lot easier. I always wanted to do the Lobster and Shrimp pizza for years. I’m not a super crazy pizza lover, but I wanted a restaurant with comfort food and to have a casual ambiance, customers couldn’t get anywhere else.
DM: I see a lot of your dishes are healthier options. How did you decide on the dishes that are made on your menu?
CS: I wanted to do a farm to table concept. It’s not a super health conscious restaurant. We have pizzas for meat lovers like “The Pig Ate My Pizza” which has pepperoni, Italian sausage, and bacon. We also have a pizza for seafood lovers called “Lobster and Shrimp” which the ingredients speak for itself. We also have a pizza for vegans that is called “Vegana” which has nothing but vegan mozzarella and vegetables. We literally have pizzas for everyone. We have some of the finest and freshest ingredients.
DM: There are a lot of great locations to open a business in St. Louis—- why the CWE?
CS: I chose the CWE because it’s a known area. It is a great neighborhood and has a lot of other restaurants and residential housing. It’s a vibrant neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic; not to mention, proximity to Forest Park, The Muny, universities, and hospitals. I think this location was a perfect choice to open my first restaurant.
DM: Your goal is to change people’s expectations of pizza. What kind of expectations do you want your patrons to arrive and leave with?
CS: I want them to arrive with an open mind to try different things they’ve never had before. Upon finishing our dishes, I want them to leave with expectations that it’s more to pizza. More than just a pizza with traditional toppings that we grow up with—like pepperoni and cheese pizza.
DM: What type of ambiance are you trying to create within your restaurant?
CS: I want to create a very casual ambiance but mixed with fine dining. That’s the reason I call it fine casual. I want people to be and feel comfortable. Cork N’ Slice is open for everyone such as families, date night, ladies night or a quick lunch run.
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