FRESH Way: They make it, you bake it

FRESH Way U-Bake Pizza opened in late January at 8460 164th Ave. NE in Redmond. Grand opening specials, through March 31, include family combo deals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

FRESH Way U-Bake Pizza business partners Ross Yamada

FRESH Way U-Bake Pizza business partners Ross Yamada

FRESH Way U-Bake Pizza opened in late January at 8460 164th Ave. NE in Redmond. Grand opening specials, through March 31, include family combo deals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

For $19.95, the family combos consist of any extra-large (17-inch) pizza, plus a salad, cookie dough and two-liter soda; or a large (15-inch) pizza with chicken wings or meatballs and soda.

On hectic weeknights, “it gets people to try our product and then we hope they’ll come back on weekends,” explained Heather Preston, who co-owns FRESH Way with her husband Wayne and runs the take-and-bake shop with business partner Ross Yamada.

Preston knows that FRESH Way isn’t the only take-and-bake pizza purveyor in Redmond. Papa Murphy’s and most supermarkets sell take-and-bake pizzas, as well.

So we asked the obvious question: “What makes you different?”

“Six years ago, we wanted the rights to Papa Murphy’s in Canada … but the take-and-bake market has not been as popular there,” Preston explained. “We started looking into doing something like it ourselves, taking it a step farther.”

That step is offering Smart Car delivery, starting at 4 p.m. daily, free of charge, within about a three-mile radius. As they expand their delivery range, they’ll probably charge about $1 for delivery, Preston said.

Getting hot pizza delivered has been an age-old solution to being too busy or lazy to cook. But take-and-bake pizzas “are fresher, and within the time we can bring it to them, about 10 minutes, they’re able to pre-heat their oven and have it ready to go,” she noted.

Said Yamada, “I know that my family prefers take-and-bake but it always seemed to get trumped by the convenience of delivery. When you’ve been shuttling kids around all day, the last thing you want to do is run another errand. Redmond is kind of the perfect target market, with lots of families doing lots of activities.”

This summer, the folks at FRESH Way plan to have a mobile kitchen truck to take pizzas out to local sports fields. Fundraising programs, where schools or organizations would get a percentage of the pizza sales, are also being considered.

“It’s a good way to promote ourselves and also help the schools,” Preston admitted.

Although FRESH Way’s Web site mentions a thin-crust pizza, Preston said they’re still experimenting with the thin version and want it to be just right.

But their original crust is thinner than many you’d see at other pizza chains. “It’s not real thick or real thin,” she explained. “It’s just thick enough to hold fresh, juicy toppings. We also have a whole wheat crust.”

So far, FRESH Way’s best-selling pizzas have been the FRESH Way Special (mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, beef, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, red onions, green and red peppers and black olives) the Caprice (sliced mozzarella, sliced Roma tomatoes and fresh basil) and Ultimate Meat (mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, bacon and beef).

Other choices include Hawaiian or BBQ Chicken — or you can custom-order your pizza.

“We weren’t carrying green olives but have added them for a certain customer. And another customer wanted red sauce without garlic so we’re doing that,” Preston said. “We’re still small enough that we can do that.”

The Prestons plan to stay Redmond-based, but hope to soon open more shops in Sammamish, Issaquah, Bellevue and Kirkland — and ultimately, nationwide or into Canada.

FRESH Way U-Bake Pizza is open seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m. They close at 8 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

For more information, call (425) 883-3777 or visit www.freshwaypizza.com.


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