Clear Channel Music Execs-Turned-Pizza Impresarios Take THR’s Taste Test
The partners behind SoCal’s rapidly expanding PizzaRev chain talk sunflower seeds, sea urchin, Louisiana–style gumbo and more.
Not too long ago, Irv Zuckerman and Rodney Eckerman worked side by side as co-CEOs of Clear Channel Music. Then they ditched the gig for a start-up -- their own -- that launched in April in Northridge. PizzaRev, a fast-casual, Chipotle-style concept dedicated to thin-crust pies, aims to beat Umami man Adam Fleischman’s similarly nascent and low-cost 800 Degrees brand toward CPK-style domination in Southern California and beyond. Quickly expanding with locations in Studio City and Woodland Hills (which just opened Nov. 30), the pair takes a break from pizza proliferation to digest just what else gets their maws motivated.
THEIR THR TASTE TEST
Zuckerman: “I cannot get out of my head the French fries at Church & State. Yeah, I know, a lot of people have their faves in this health food category, but the Church gets great flavor from their Russets.”
Known for Cooking
Eckerman: “Louisiana-style gumbo. One of the things I miss after leaving the Gulf Coast in the late ’90s.”
Zuckerman: “Sunflower seeds. Too many baseball games, I guess.”
Eckerman: “Restaurants that are not full making you wait.”
Zuckerman: “French Laundry – hands down.”
Eckerman: “More sampling menus. I love a selection.
Simply Won’t Eat
Zuckerman: “I cannot do sea urchin.”
Eckerman: “I usually end up on a version of Atkins if I have to get serious about losing weight.”
Zuckerman: “OK, to me this was crazy but to others it’s lunch: lambs’ tongue. I’m good to go without a mulligan on that dish.”
Eckerman: “Finding out I have ordered something different than I thought in Guadalajara. I loved it and when I asked the waiter what the crispy topping was, I found out, to much surprise, I had just eaten crispy grasshopper.”
Zuckerman: “Slicing very small pieces of homemade key lime pie with lots of whipped cream only to wind up eating about half the pie but in small increments. Less calories, for sure.”
Eckerman: “It would have to be something Southern that I would never eat if it was not my last meal. Likely fried and very bad for you.”