KONO Pizza, which has over 130 locations worldwide, opened U.S. locations in Edison, NJ, Orlando, Florida and (of all places) in Le Mars, Iowa. Several more shops are planned for New York, North Carolina and California.
KONO cones claim they are filled with "fresh, quality ingredients", such as the dough and tomato sauce imported straight from Italy, and give consumers an "on-the-go, healthier way to enjoy their favorite food", according to co-founder David Ragosa. C'mon. This is a franchise. How "fresh" can the ingredients be? If the dough is imported from Italy, then it's more than likely frozen--not fresh. As one KONO demonstrator on You Tube explains, "the cones are flash frozen back in Italy". 'Nuf said. And watch a video on how the things are made... I got turned off totally when I saw the sauce being pumped into the cone in little squirts, similar to the ketchup-pump we are used to in hot dog shops. The ingredients don't exactly look like they were prepared fresh on-site, either.
"And it's transportable," Ragosa said. "I could, and I'm not condoning it, but I could put this in my cup holder, I could carry it on a train, in a way you can't with a slice of pizza." Hey, I can drive with a slice in my hand and not get a drip of olive oil on my shirt. This is an acquired skill for any pizza lover that needs to slice-and-drive. Besides, I can always lay the slice down on the bag or box on the center console or seat next to me... how do I put down a cone? Sorry, but as filthy as cup holders usually are, I would never stick in there!
"By using a thinner crust and a low-moisture cheese, KONO cuts calories and reduces the amount of carbs and grease in the dish, allowing customers to experience less of the guilt that comes as a result of satisfying a pizza craving." ..... Really? How about the overload of cheese in these things? Healthy? I challange ANY fast food pizza from mathing the healthiness of any Mom & Pop pizzeria that uses fresh dough made in-house each and every day.
"An average pizza slice is about 450 calories, Ragosa said. A KONO slice? Between 250-280 calories, Ragosa said. 'This is all fresh and natural.'" Really? Punch in most slices of pizza and they come in between 250 and 275 calories. I have no clue where they got the 450 number from. My home made pizzas are a bit lower per slice.
KONO's path to America came via Naples, Italy, where real pizza was born. "We wanted to bring that cone concept here," Ragosa said. " And what better place to re-invent pizza, Ragosa said, than the town named after the inventor of the practical light bulb." Aw, give me a break. They are pulling out all the stops, trying to get the average Jersey boy to feed on their pizza cones by filling them with pride about Thomas Edison... as if they would buy a Philly Steak Sandwich or a Po' Boy because I drop the Marconi bomb on them.
Look, try a pizza cone if you like, and report back to me. Let us know how it went down. Was it overloaded with cheese as many reviewers report? Did the dough seem "fresh", or did it have the same frozen texture as the Hut, Dominoes and other fast food pizza monstrosities? What did the ingredients taste like? Were all the toppings displayed fresh before they are made to order? I'll refrain from testing this one... I'm obviously not a fan of fast food--especially fast pizza.
--Jerry Finzi, Pizza Purist
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