At six hundred degrees, the “Buck Stop’s” new brick pizza ovens fired up and served some one hundred pizzas during their opening week.
Over the past three months, Tim Raible, director of food services and his staff have been testing pizza recipes for the pizzeria.
“We’re thrilled that the recipes and the toppings, everything that we’ve tried seem to be going over well,” Raible said. I wanted the pizza to compete with the Palace Pizza, not so much Dominos or Little Caeser’s, we’re a little better than that.”
In the future he hopes the Buck Stop will serve flatbread pizza and the Grillmaster at Tutu’s will be changed in a “phase two” to give it some identity to that type area.
The Buck Stop was a gift from trustees Steve and Lynda Buck, hence the name. According to Raible, the whole idea came from a catering event at a board of trustees’ dinner.
“I usually go a few days ahead of time to scope out the house and I noticed there was a pizza oven outside… we served specialty flatbreads and when the President got to the event she just fell in love with the little pizzas and she asked, “Do you think this is something the students would like?” Raible said.
It has been a dream of Raible to have a pizza venue on campus. Originally he wanted to renovate the Terrace Café and turn it into a pizzeria for students. Raible said he was nervous when Dr. Kerr came to him with the prospects of renovating the original grill master.
“It’s been a little challenge, being outside, but it’s unique,” Raible said. “There’s not anything like it on any campus anywhere right now, so this is groundbreaking. A lot of people wouldn’t be up to this challenge, I was worried about it because we’re under the guidelines of the health department and there’s going to be some challenges, especially if we’re going to be open late night, but we will do our best to do it, and I think we can.”
Last school year, the health department briefly closed the Grillmaster due to health violations.
Dr. Kyle Fedler, Florida Southern Provost said that the issues with the area weren’t what was reported in the Lakeland Ledger.
“The papers claimed we were shut down for a violation that wasn’t really an issue,” Fedler said. “Health inspectors were there two days before the second inspection and the violation.”
The health inspectors returned for a second inspection because of a complaint of proper hand washing stations.
“They [the health inspectors] knew we had a hand-washing unit, but it wasn’t a true sink,” Raible said. “They shut me down, even though it had been approved a week earlier… It seemed a little ridiculous, but it wasn’t any sort of health issue that the paper made it out to seem. Never did we have a health violation regarding that. We’ve never been cited with anything like that.”