Travel down the Mississippi River, and you’ll make your way to the oldest established city on the riverbanks and the hub of the steamboat era: Natchez, Mississippi. Nestled on the border of Louisiana and Mississippi, the temperature and Southern food influence is hotter than the brick ovens that Natchez Brewing Company uses to fire up some of the best — and most Instagrammable — pizzas in the region.
Natchez used to be a brewing only concept, but Pat and Lisa Miller’s new brewpub needed something a little extra: food. Pizza is the perfect pairing for their craft beer selection, and brick ovens were installed to create Neapolitan pizzas for the expansion.
“We wanted to switch to a brewpub about three years ago and for that we needed food,” Pat Miller said. “You don’t need a frier or a cooktop for pizza, so we started with a brick oven and Neapolitans. From that we grew to Detroit-style.”
The Millers started out with pans that required a lot of maintenance. They weren’t durable and didn’t have a heavy duty feel. However, Miller said that when he grabs something from LloydPans, he knows he has something that’s going to last forever.
“From customer service, to the coating, to figuring out the LloydPans configuration with our ovens, everything has worked out with LloydPans,” Miller said. “You don’t really have to do anything to them, unlike other pans that you have to treat like a cast iron skillet. I just don’t have time for that.”
Natchez Brewing Company also uses LloydPans 12-inch screens for calzones and other food items, which Miller said also makes a difference. Nothing sticks to them; there’s no digging cheese out, and they’re smooth with no crevices, making for an unparalleled non-stick surface.
LloydPans 8×10 Detroit Pizza Pans are used to make creations like Alabama White BBQ or cupping pepperoni Detroits with toppers like Mike’s Hot Honey. The heat of the South and customer wish lists are what drives the Millers to design their menus.
“We’re on the Louisiana border … a lot of people consider the Louisiana influence more than the Mississippi influence and steer toward the spicier and hot items,” Miller said. “We thought when we started we would do traditional Neapolitan stuff, but honestly in the end you give the people what they want. And, Detroit really photographs well, too. We still sell more Neapolitans, but people are drawn to the Detroit. It looks better.”
As for the future, Miller said that Grandma-style may be on the horizon, especially when Natchez has a big catered event. But, it really depends on what consumers are looking for and where industry trends focus.
“I try to stay within beer and food [trends] as much as we can. We try to pay attention,” he said. “People who aren’t paying attention to social media and what’s trending — they’re doing themselves a big disservice. If someone else is watching, they’re paying attention.”