Bakery on call for pizzas

Since Durfee’s Sweet Shoppe began serving pizzas this semester, local bakery Lupi Legna has been cashing in — one phone call at a time.

Yale Dining solicited the Washington Avenue bakery last month to bake and deliver pizzas to the student convenience store. Although many students interviewed said the 7- and 14-inch pizzas have drawn them into the store on a regular basis, Lupi Legna Bakery has yet to sign a regular supplier’s contract with the University.

Durfee’s began serving pizzas from Lupi Legna bakery at the beginning of this semester, but the campus eatery has not signed a contract with Lupi.
Wanwan Lu
Durfee’s began serving pizzas from Lupi Legna bakery at the beginning of this semester, but the campus eatery has not signed a contract with Lupi.

“Since September, we have been called to supply the pizzas whenever they are needed,” said bakery owner Peter Lupi. “There is no formal agreement between us and Yale.”

Every two or so days, Lupi said he will receive a delivery request by phone. While he declined to specify how many pizzas he supplies in an average week, around two dozen pizzas regularly line the shelf at Durfee’s on any given lunch hour. The pizzas arrive unfrozen and are reheated in a turbo oven before being sold.

That Yale Dining has chosen to forgo a contract is a break with practice. Premier Healthcare Alliance, a purchasing conglomerate which has negotiated contracts with suppliers of the University’s 23 dining and retail facilities since March, currently oversees the choice and supply of a number of food offerings from its range of over 20,000 products. Joan Ralph, the vice president of Premier Continuum of Care, a Premier subsidiary, said one of the company’s main goals is to help Yale “operate as cost-effectively as possible.”

In a press release after signing with Premier, Yale Dining Executive Director Rafi Taherian noted that the University’s need to operate “in a fiscally responsible manner” was also “essential to dining at Yale.”

The decision not to sign a contract with Lupi Legna reflects this goal of greater fiscal prudence: By ordering pizza on an as-needed basis, Dining can minimize waste and ensure freshness, Lupi said.

Thomas Tucker, Yale Dining’s director of retail development and operations, last month labeled the pizzas as “an evolutionary program,” adding yesterday that further adjustments, such as the introduction of pizza slices and additional hot items, may be yet to come.

Meanwhile, Yale students appear to have embraced the arrival of pizza at Durfee’s. While prices are lower at nearby restaurants such as Yorkside Pizza & Restaurant, A-1 Pizza and Wall Street Pizza & Restaurant, convenience and the ability to use meal swipes have made the cheese, pepperoni, broccoli and spinach pies some of the most popular items on Durfee’s menu.

Alex Kramer ’13, who said Durfee’s is a regular lunchtime pit stop, said he often transfers his lunch swipe to buy a small pizza and soft drink before heading to class.

“It’s a handy way of getting some food when I’m in a rush.”

Sudharshan Mohanram ’13 adding that the boxed pizzas allowed him to have a meal on the go and avoid long lunchtime queues at Commons Dining Hall or in the residential colleges.

The whole pizzas cost $4.29 and $13.99, depending on size. For those willing to make the trip to the corner of Washington Avenue and Cedar Street, where Lupi Legna Bakery is located, a similar small pizza retails for $2.39.

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