The Mindful Pizza: Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria
Luigi Iommelli, commonly referred to as “Gino,” owner of Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria, in Medford, is not one for cutting corners or compromising on quality when it comes to authentic Italian pizza-making.
“People have to do things fast in the restaurant industry,” he observes, “but I am not willing to approach it that way. Here, we make our own bread and mozzarella from scratch, we slice our own meat, and we proof our dough for 24 to 48 hours before it becomes pizza. Everything is organic, and I personally pick up fresh vegetables daily from local suppliers. We don’t use microwaves, and the only sugar you’ll ever find here is the powdered sugar that goes on the cannoli.”
Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria upholds high standards when it comes to health: The food they offer does not contain any preservatives, additives, hormones, antibiotics, sugar, GMOs or other chemicals. They also offer many vegan and gluten-free options. “Even the tomato sauce that goes on our pizza is as pure as it gets,” Iommelli affirms, as he holds up a large can of tomato sauce. “Somehow, even organic brands, find ways to sneak in sugar or citric acid into their products. I’ve gone out of my way to find this, but it’s worth it: This is purely tomatoes and basil,” he smiles, “as it should be.”
Iommelli, born in Trenton, New Jersey, but raised in Naples, Italy, grew up cooking and eating the finest natural home recipes of Italy. “It’s in my DNA,” he jokes. His grandfather owned a cookie factory and his father owned a bakery. He started working at his father’s bakery when he was only 8. At 16, Iommelli brought his knowledge and expertise in Italian cuisine back to Trenton.
While developing his craft, he worked at one of the oldest pizzerias in the U.S.: Papa’s Tomato Pie Pizzeria. Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria celebrated their two-year anniversary in March. It was created by Iommelli and his cousin from Naples, with the aspiration of becoming the finest authentic Italian pizzeria in the area.
Iommelli professes: “Listen, I truly believe that we are what we eat. That’s why I believe in grade-A quality foods. I lost my father to cancer. And my mother is going through it right now. It’s all the poison we put into our systems. The first advice doctors give you for curing disease, especially cancer, is to eat organic. Organic food is so much cleaner. It doesn’t feed cancer cells.”
Gino is known by his customers for being talkative and friendly. “I love all of my customers,” he declares, “because they choose quality over quantity. These are people that truly want to live longer and healthier. I love making people happy, and my way of doing that is through food and hospitality. I like to talk to everyone and make them feel at home.” Hannia Iommelli, his wife, chimes in: “He is a pizza guy in heart and soul. He is very exact when it comes to every detail of the food we make here. And it is made with love: simple, pure, genuine love.”
Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria doesn’t just offer pizza, but also a large variety of appetizers, salads, soups, burgers, entrees, specialty sandwiches and desserts. Moreover, they are opening up a new restaurant in Marlton this spring, which will be larger with more seating, so they can expand from their current takeout and delivery services.
Whether at the Medford location or the new one in Marlton, Gino invites everyone looking for a healthier alternative to dining out to come and enjoy his pizza. He affirms: “Start taking good care of yourself. Eating delicious food doesn’t translate to eating bad foods. You can eat really tasty food that is also healthy, affordable, and makes for overall healthier and happier lifestyles for everyone in the community.”
Tiga’s Artisan Pizzeria is located at 643 Stokes Rd., Medford. For more information, call 609-257-3324 or visit TigasPizza.com.