Restaurants all over the country are getting into the holiday spirit. But Porta, a Neapolitan pizzeria in both Asbury Park, NJ, and Jersey City, takes it to another level. With their “Pizza and a Porta Tree” promotion, guests get two Margherita pies, a carafe of either beer or wine – and a 2ft-4ft tree at the end of the meal. We chatted about the holiday project with Mark Hinchcliffe, junior partner at Smith (the collective behind the restaurant).
How did you come up with “Pizza and a Porta Tree”? Pizza and a Porta Tree started our first year of operating in Asbury Park in 2011 (we’ve been doing it for 5 years now). When we first opened, we named our outdoor area Porta National Park: it was our way to have some fun with the space, but it also spoke to how we truly envisioned our outdoor area – as a place to be wild and free, a place of possibility. Bringing Christmas trees (and lots of them) into the park was just a natural extension of that idea. It gave the place purpose in the colder months, when no one wanted to be outside. It drew guests into the environment. We’re always looking at opportunities for hospitality that go beyond the predictable: opportunities to truly delight and engage the imagination of our guests.
How have guests responded? The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Over the last couple of years we’ve had to do multiple orders of trees because we keep running out. People are so excited that they can have a meal and then pick out a tree. It makes for the perfect holiday outing. And we started the promotion in Jersey City this year: the feedback has been just as positive. There just aren’t that many places to get a tree in the city, and to offer up that possibility along with great food and drink, you can’t beat it.