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Meet Craig Buscemi of Pizzami Buscemi in Orange County Plus

Today we’d like to introduce you to Craig Buscemi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Throughout the trials and tribulations of my life in college, studying abroad, multiple sales jobs, teaching English in Rome, being a Realtor in 2008, being a Paratrooper in the US Army for nearly eight years, I had always thought back to how much fun I had while working in pizzerias while in high school and college. So just before I got out of the Army, I took some of my “leave” time and rode my motorcycle to Verona, Italy from Vicenza, Italy for a “Pizzaiolo” course to supplement my previous knowledge of the pizza craft. I then started my pizza truck/catering business in 2016 upon my re-entry into the civilian world. I have had to struggle with my immense disgust with the political climate and seemingly pending doom which took me to dark places that I thought I had left behind me.

The struggles in the food truck business pale in comparison to the constant degradation of our democracy and the constitution to which I took an oath. I found my source of therapy through the GI Bill during the slow part of the food truck season, by taking classes at Orange Coast College in order to continue my culinary knowledge, business/marketing acumen, but most importantly for the therapeutic catharsis that I have found in my creative writing classes. So crafting pizza, learning, assembling words, and volunteering for the Bernie Sander’s campaign has made me whole.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I had to replace the engine, steering column, radiator, etc. in the van that tows the pizza trailer. I’ve had to cope with a junk oven that has only barely maintained enough benefit in order to not take it to the desert and fill it full of bullet holes. I had to adapt to a seasonal industry. I had to go way beyond my comfort zone when dealing with the public. Most critically though, I had to dredge through yet another depression that I was told to expect but didn’t see coming from the direction that it came from, dealing with the fact that America had nazis marching in our streets. Exiting the military and coming back to see a fascist take the White House was very difficult to cope with and it got almost as dark for me as my suicidal period that I went through while in the Army.

Please tell us about Pizzami Buscemi.
Veteran owned and operated I myself am 100% the only one to this day who mixes and tosses each and every pizza, I alone handle all of the many aspects that there are to running this business. It is a food truck but I have been focusing more on private catering for many reasons. I will still do large public events but private catering makes this business much more manageable. I am known for New Yorkers raving about and craving my pizza. It is a thin crust that is fold worthy and I hold true to fewer ingredients that are higher in quality. The pizza is sold by the slice and can produce massive amounts of pizza. Depending on demand we may offer large pizza. I am most proud of the fact that we’ve gone toe to toe with some of the most popular and famous food trucks in Southern California and we can even out produce most if not all of them while having zero detriment to my high standards. I think the thing that sets us apart is that we exceed expectations because people assume due to their previous experience having pizza from a truck. Many think that all pizza are created equal and that can’t be farther from the truth. So we are used to people being surprised at how satisfied they are with my pizza.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I really had to think about this one. I’ve always analyzed the bad memories so to think of a particularly good one took a while. I’d have to say that it was when I cried upon the realization that life was finite and that I would eventually die. I’m not sure how many children in elementary school can truly grasp the gravity of having to process our limited time in this life, but there I was, laying on my bunk bed truly depressed and crying because I then understood that it would all come to an end eventually.

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Image Credit:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Bernie Sanders rally in Venice is the background to the poem.

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