You'd BETTER Tip Your Pilot!
Does Nome, Alaska's Airport Pizza deliver? You bet they do...
and they'll even get your pie to you if you're used to travelling
The out-of-the-way restaurant -- Nome is so far north, it's the
finish line for the Iditarod -- is offering its pizzas to customers
as far as hundreds of miles away... and they're doing it on
airplanes flown by Frontier Flying Service.
"You buy, we fly!" is the motto for Airport Pizza, the first
pizza delivery operation in the city -- outpost? -- of 14,000.
"Before we were opened, Nome had to be the last town in America
that didn't have pizza delivery," said Matt Tomter, Airport Pizza
manager, to the Anchorage Daily News. "So we didn't come up with
anything new. We just applied the same concept to Nome."
The strangest thing about this already odd story? While the
pizza prices are somewhat steep, relative to what those of us used
to having a Domino's around the corner (next door to Starbucks) --
those prices include delivery. Even if it's by Piper Navajo, or one
of Frontier's Beech 1900s.
While Nome has restaurants that serve pizza -- DexOnline lists
two, and one of them is a Chinese restaurant -- Airport Pizza is
the first operation that delivers. And unlike that Domino's, they
WILL go outside city limits... sometimes, WAAAY outside.
For their out of town customers, Airport Pizza loads their
specially made pies on Frontier flights to such remote outposts as
St. Lawrence Island, Shishmaref, Teller, Elim, Golivan, Wales,
White Mountain, and Koyuk. While there are no guarantees about the
pizza's warmth when it arrives... all things considered, the price
is right, $16 for a 15-inch cheese pizza, with loaded 19" specialty
pies going for around $30.
Again, with Free Delivery... although you really should tip your
delivery person... um, pilot.
"I have eaten there many times," said Kirsten Timbers, 23,
director of Nome's Children's Advocacy Center. "It's so good. I
love it. All kinds of sauces, good ingredients, like artichoke
hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, really fresh, good garlic. It is the
latest craze. Everyone's eating it up."
Tomter told the newspaper that while he'd first had the idea
about eighteen months ago, the plan really got going when his
former carpet cleaning business was assigned the task of cleaning
up after a fire. In the ashes of the burned building, sat a bulky
brick pizza oven.
"I said, 'Hey, how much do you want for that?' And they said,
'If you get it out of here, it's free,"' Tomter said. "And I
thought, 'Let's see if we can make some money with that
With a crew of eight friends and a forklift, Tomter hauled the
3,500-pound oven over to Frontier Flying Service's lot at the Nome
airport. They then rented a building, and Tomter's wife came up
with the money needed to open a restaurant.
Once a dough recipe was found, the Tomters opened their
operation August 5 last year -- and so far, according to Tomter,
business has yet to slow down.
"We're not as busy as the Moose's Tooth [an Anchorage pizza
joint revered by Alaskan natives]," Tomter said. "We don't do 500
pizzas a night, but yeah, it's been good since day one."