For me, pizza has always been a spur-of-the-moment food. It’s what you order when you’re too tired to cook or don’t want all the trappings that come with going out to a full-service restaurant. Most of the pizzas I’ve consumed in a nonprofessional setting have been last-minute orders.
But Brad’s Underground has introduced pizza by appointment only. Want one of Brad’s pies for your dinner tonight? Maybe the day after tomorrow. (Maybe.) And you say you’d like it for dinner? That’s fine, you may eat it whenever you like, but you may have to pick it up at 2 o’clock.
The ability to schedule a pizza is something of an improvement over Brad’s previous business model, which as near as I could tell involved hopeful customers sending him a message via his Instagram page and waiting, sometimes Godot-like, for a response. For some it would take weeks to receive an invitation to place an order; others never did hear back, leaving them to post lamentations on various social media platforms wondering what poor life choices they must have made to render them so karmically unblessed. At least that’s how I read it.
My take? Brad Czerkies – whose nickname is apparently, and perhaps ironically, Flash – is something of a marketing genius. Because the surest way to make people want something is to tell them they can’t have it.
There’s also a reason for the slow pace at which Brad’s Pizzas are produced: Czerkies seems to be a one-man pizzaiola. He previously produced his pies from an undisclosed location, hence the Underground designation. Now he is working out of the Collab Kitchens in the Curry Ford West district.
And now there’s an online ordering process to replace the previous hope-and-pray system. But as I said, be prepared to be flexible about when you’d like to dine on one of the prized pies. I placed my order on a Tuesday and was informed that Thursday was the soonest I could get it. I had other plans for that Thursday, so I chose Friday, only to discover that there were no evening pickup times available. So I opted to pick up my pizza at precisely 2:50 p.m. and would reheat it for dinner.
(A quick check on this Tuesday also showed Thursday as the soonest availability, but there were pickup times throughout the evening.)
One other interesting note: People ordering a deep-dish or double decker pizza are advised that they require an extra 20 minutes. So...48 hours plus 20 minutes?
I selected the thin crust, hoping to speed things up. And from the long list of additional toppings, I selected the basic pepperoni and sausage. (The ordering form is quite detailed – not only can you request a particular topping be added to just one side of the pie, you can also specify whether you want it on the left side or right side.)
And so how was it? It was a very good pizza. I liked the texture of the crust and the singed crispiness of the edges. The sauce was evenly ladled and had a pleasant blend of spicing. There was an ample amount of cheese without it being too heavy, wet or gooey. And the requested toppings were applied generously. The pizza was sliced using the crosshatch method rather than forming wedges, but I really don’t have a preference for one over the other. Fittingly, it was served in a plain brown box.
It is not an inexpensive pie. The base thin-crust pizza is $14.65 and each topping adds an additional charge – it was $2 more for each of the toppings I had. If you want toppings on only half the pie it will be about $1.25, though the left side is priced the same as the right side.
Considering the artisanal quality and the independent nature of the business, the cost is not outrageous.
But like I said, a pizza is an impulse meal for me, so Brad’s is not something I’m likely to have often. But I marvel at the ability of Czerkies to make appointment pizza a thing of desire.
Brad’s Underground is at Collab Kitchens, 4400A Curry Ford Road, Orlando. It is open Thursday through Monday for pickup or delivery through third-party app only. A phone number is not available.