Samantha Mikloiche knows pizza — especially good pizza — is a family affair.
She began working in her parents’ restaurant, Andy’s Pizza in Peckville, when she was just 13. Since then, she’s worked side by side with her folks, Joan and Jeff Mikloiche, to learn just what makes an Andy’s pie stand out from the rest. Now the manager and pizza maker, Samantha talks about what makes the family business so special.
Q: How long has Andy’s Pizza been around?
A: Andy’s has been around since the early 40s, starting out of Andy and Helen’s family home here down the road. “Andy’s Pizza” was established here in 1945. Besides some cosmetic changes, Andy’s has really stayed true to the original. While products and companies go out of business, we are as close to the original as possible, plus we use boxes now. (In the early days) when you would pick up Andy’s, you would get it wrapped in wax paper. Could you imagine carrying five stacked like that?
Q: What are some customer favorites and why?
A: Customer favorites are really the basics. The sausage is always a go to but for specialties right now the there are three always favorites: the Hot and Sweet, Hotwing and Pickle pizzas. We have a new-to-the-menu Mack pizza and, well, that’s mouthwatering! Mostly, I stay in tune with new trends and keeps up on a lot of what’s going on, but my mom gets her opinions in as well and we go from there. Strangest ... there’s a customer who likes sweet pickles, sweet peppers and kielbasa, which actually smells really good together. We have a customer who wants green beans but we haven’t ventured down that road yet.
Q: People around here have strong opinions on pizza — the crust, the sauce, the cheese blend. Have you used the same recipe for your pizza since the beginning?
A: We’ve always said Andy’s is in a category of our own. It’s hard to compare us to anyone out there. The combination of the three really make for a good pizza, if you have a bad crust but everything else works I think it will always be off. I make our dough daily and I am a crust girl so a good dough is where it starts. We are as original as we can get, granted times change, companies go out of business but we are exactly where we should be with Andy’s recipe.
Q: Why is pizza such a popular food, especially in NEPA?
A: I’ve always said, it’s family food. You can feed a family of four with a tray of pizza and pitcher of soda if you had to. Also, the comfort! Pizza is a comfort food that really everyone loves, think about it, have you met anyone who hates pizza. At least for NEPA and a lot of the shops around, especially with us it’s the memories, customers who come back just to feel the way they did 25 plus years ago when they came in with their parents or grandparents who have since passed. Andy’s feels like a second home to a lot of our customers and it’s been a staple in families for years. We strive for that, and we love that. It’s why we do what we do.
Q: Is there any topping that doesn’t go on pizza?
A: Well I think we would try anything once! But I think we saw a pea pizza online. Yeah, peas. We weren’t gonna try that one. But ... the big debate on if pineapple should go on pizza, we say you have to try it. At Andy’s, pineapple does belong on pizza and we aren’t sorry! Hahaha!