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Z Pizza offers nutritious tastes

DINING OUT

What must be among the most phenomenal Laguna Beach success

stories of any era is the saga of Z Pizza and how enterprising

principal Sid Fanarof gained fame by adding a delicious, nutritious

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gourmet twist to that popular Italian pie.

The story began in June 1986 when Fanarof launched his creation

with a single twosome table in Aliso Creek shopping center. Now,

after doubling the original site a year ago, eight additional

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California locations are thriving, four more are on the horizon and

40 franchises have been established in such diverse locales as Lake

Tahoe, Phoenix and Santa Barbara.

What is the secret of Z Pizza’s popularity? The answer is simply

product, starting with the incredibly crisp, thin, delicate crusts

for which the innovative entrepreneur credits the recipe he conceived

after diligent testing and the old time brick oven purchased early

on.

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Next came the creative international embellishments he devised,

which almost immediately started an industry trend.

Continuing favorites are the Morocco, combining eggplant, feta

cheese and pine nuts with pesto; the Greek, with red onions,

Kalalmata olives, tomatoes, oregano and feta cheese; the Provence,

teaming with artichoke hearts, capers, tomatoes, roasted garlic,

basil and marinara; and a spicy Southwest, with chicken sausage, red

onions, serrano chiles, tomatoes, cilantro and chipotle pesto. The

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pizzas are available in 10-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch sizes ($8.50,

$14 and $19.50)

The offer to “create your own pizza” gives guests a wide choice of

sauces, cheeses, veggies, meats, herbs and spices and the option of

wheat and traditional crusts.

“We are totally health-conscious when it comes to quality of

ingredients” says Fanarof, noting that his award-winning pizzas

contain a mere 11- to 12-grams of fat per slice. Credit the exclusive

use of low-fat cheeses, skim milk mozzarella and soy-based products

from the Blue Ribbon territory of Wisconsin. Prime quality tomatoes

from the fertile region of Montana, he continues, make for the savory

sauces that enhance pizzas, lasagna and spaghetti bolognaise.

With accommodations for 50, including a dozen seats for alfresco

dining, Z Pizza offers a wide variety of regional bottled soft

drinks, beer and wine. Innovative salads, priced from $1.45 to $2.38,

include arugula with shredded parmesan, walnuts, cucumbers in

balsamic vinaigrette; Chinese chicken with Mandarin oranges in sesame

ginger dressing; and rotelli pastas with spicy cilantro, Greek or

pesto flavorings.

Hearty hot and cold sandwiches at $4.75 are made with huge wheat

and regular French baguettes baked daily. Some of the sandwich

fillings are: chicken sausages, yuppie veggies, turkey breast and a

Mediterranean combination.

Reinforcing the slogan outside, “Our crusts are canvases,” Z

Pizza’s walls are adorned with a continuing display by local artists,

and tables are draped with white paper inviting diners to create

their own designs. Fanarof suggests you indulge in his dessert

favorites -- Z-cookies oatmeal, Z-snickerdoodles and Ben & Jerry’s

ice cream.

* GLORI FICKLING is a longtime Laguna Beach resident who has

specialized in writing restaurant news and views since 1966. She may

be reached at 494-4710 or e-mail ghoneywest@aol.com.


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