Hearne: A Million Pizzas & a Race for Dear Life

254082_214276621936550_5924163_nSince when did making pizzas become a life and death struggle?

I’ll let new Dark Horse Tavern main man Bill Nigro answer that in a minute. But first let’s clear up the confusion about the whereabouts of Torres Pizza the past 10 years.

As one comments section gentleman noted, something called Torres has been available in Westport  pretty much all along since the mid 1970s.

Trouble is, after Nigro got fed up hand making pizzas in 2002 he farmed Torres out to a concern who changed the recipe and hustled the pies less scrupulously.

No mas.

“It never really went away,” Nigro explains. “But the guys that were making it just didn’t care and they tried to improve it and changed the recipe.”

Now that Nigro’s back running the Dark Horse he’s licensed Torres to someone else and the old ways are back.

Not that he’d 250585_215215798509299_5835609_n-1be caught dead making pizza.

Not after spinning over a million pies in his quarter century at Torres. Or so he says.

That’s right, more than a million pizzas – I didn’t believe it either.

So let’s do the math…

“I made between 200 and 400 pizzas a day at least five days a week – usually six – for 25 years,” Nigro swears.

At the low end, 50 weeks a year for 25 years, that comes out to 1,250,000 pizzas – 2.5 million if we use the higher figure but still cap it at five days a week.


“Hearne, I told you several years ago that I made more than a million pizzas but you didn’t believe me then,” Nigro says. “Sonnuvabitch, you were the one who didn’t do the math right back then.”

Needless to say, choking outthat many pizzas rendered Nigro more than a little stir crazy. Not to mention, you know, fat.

“I lost 60 pounds after I stopped making pizzas,” Nigro says. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I wasn’t standing in the kitchen and grazing all day.”

So again, the real Torres is back.

Seven days a week 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. with a return to opening for lunch in the works.

What’s so special about the Real Deal?

“Back in the 80s I got Best Pizza in the Pitch for seven or eight years in a row,” Nigro says.

imagesThe wildest thing ever to go down in those hallowed days?

“The time that a guy that was roid raging came into the restaurant,” Nigro says. “He was cussing loudly and started to pick a fight with some of my customers and I had to get him out of the restaurant, so I got him to chase me out. I told him if he was so tough to step outside – he was going to fight these two guys in Torres.

“And as I walked outside I told my bartender to call the police and then took off running. He chased me for more than four blocks and he was still chasing me when a police car pulled up and I started running around the police car with him chasing me.

“The guy was like 6 foot 7 and 275 pounds of muscle – he gave me goosebumps. Then one of the policemen opened his door to stop him and he started fighting the two cops. Another police car pulled up and he was taking on all four of them. I watched him fighting those four big policemen. You should have seen them hitting him with their sticks, but he bloodied all four of them.”

Anyway, like I said, the Torres Pizza is back.

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13 Responses to Hearne: A Million Pizzas & a Race for Dear Life

  1. Hot Carl says:

    Nothing like a Torres slice with sausage after a long night of swill at Kelly’s!

  2. KCMonarch says:

    300 pizzas a day, assuming a 12 hour work day with no potty breaks would require a production rate of one pizza every 2.4 minutes. Impressive indeed.

  3. paulwilsonkc says:

    KCMonarch, even more impressive is, if you believe in those numbers and apply an average retail price for a pizza, times the six days a week production he claims, thats $936,000 revenue!

    • admin says:

      Disclaimer: Many of the pizzas Bill counts as having made were mini / individual pizzas. Theoretically at a lower price point than the full blown ones

  4. Craig Glazer says:

    Bill that photo of you as a young man is priceless….love it!!!

  5. the dude says:

    Glaze, where did you get the platform shoes from?

  6. mihs says:

    Torres is awesome, and like the garlic butter crust. Plus you don’t have to be there to eat it! Can order and have it at your home… with free delivery. (They only deliver to down town and midtown)

  7. harley says:

    great guy…but his dad kept me out of jail more times than i can imagine.
    Judge Nigro was the greatest. I once dropped off 3 traffic tickets to his
    office…didn’t hear a word from him…
    when i next saw him he said…’NO MORE…
    and billy once told me the story of his house and the money in the walls and
    the banana man…billy tell that story!!!!!!!!

    • the dude says:

      So where did you hide the banana at Harlinator? Be truthful.

      • harley says:

        dude…this is a great and very funny and interesting
        story. Why ruin it with a cheap ass b.s comment?
        seriuosly…anyone who was anyone in kc knew who the
        bananaman was at the market.
        please…your attempt at comedy is pure b.s.
        hopefully the true story will be told.

        • the dude says:

          Because the world wants to know you dolt. They want to know where you hide Craig’s banana. And I am dead serious, quit ruining my serious question with your lame stories.

  8. paulwilsonkc says:

    Please email me at paul4life@paul.com for my upcoming report entitled; Pizza, Then and Now; There Are Still FORTUNES to be MADE!! It outlines a complete business plan if you’d like to be part of the fast growing business of pizza, franchising or licensing.

    If you care enough to read this story, you clearly have interest in PIZZA; youre my target demo! Youre a candidate to have your own pizzaria! Im here to help in any way I can.

    Bring me your weak, your weary, your heavy laden and I give them a skill. Buy a man a PIZZA, he eats for a day. Show him how to MAKE a pizza………… and he’s got a $900K revenue stream on his hands. All you have to do is learn how to crank um out at a rate of 3 a minute!

    A trained monkey can do it, so why not call me now?

  9. cp says:

    Thank you for clearing that up. Thought I was going insane. Whos EFFN pizza was I eating anyway? Well hmm… looking forward to new pies – or wait – unearthed pies. “Retro pie”? No, sounds too much like a girl I dated.

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