Houston's most unusual food promotion returns for its fourth year on November 22. Once again, Pi Pizza Truck owner Anthony Calleo will celebrate his business's birthday with a compelling offer: Pay approximately $200 for a Pi Pizza Truck-themed tattoo and earn one free slice of pizza every day Pi is open.
So many people are interested in the deal that Calleo has moved to a raffle for the 12 available slots. Winners, who will be drawn at Pi's anniversary party at Johnny's Gold Brick, will immediately proceed to a station set up by artist Gabriel Massey of Scorpion Studios. Those interested in taking the plunge may acquire a raffle ticket either from Pi or related local businesses like Blacksmith, Bernie's Burger Bus and Fat Cat Creamery.
Even people who don't want a tattoo should plan to attend to witness a pizza throwing contest, eat free pies prepared by a guest chef and try their luck in raffle that will benefit local LGBTQIA charity HATCH. FYHA will be selling some of their signature designs, too.
"I think that’s funny," Calleo says of the contest. "I just want to be impressed by someone who’s really awesome at it."
For 2015, Massey has created three new designs: A classic tear out-style tattoo featuring an eagle claw holding a pizza slice, a pizza wearing corpse paint and two pizza peels crossed behind an all-seeing eye. Returning designs include the popular "this pizza kills fascists" slice and last year's "Cheezus."
While the promotion has proven to be a successful means of attracting attention, Calleo says he only gives away a few slices per week to people who've taken the plunge. The party and the tattoos are more than just marketing; they're Calleo's way of saying thanks to his customers for their support.
"It’s just insane to me that this is my job," Calleo says. "At the end of the day, I’m really grateful for that. The party is my way to say thanks for that to everybody that comes and eats at the truck or said something about it in a positive fashion to someone they know."
Although he's still working on finding the right location for a brick and mortar location, Calleo's truck has gotten a boost from its post at Johnny's Gold Brick, the Treadsack Group's "bar ass bar" in the former Boom Boom Room space on Yale.
"We’ve been there almost eight months now, and I really enjoy the relationship that I’ve built with the bar staff there," Calleo says. "It’s a lot different than what I’ve done in the past as far as where I’ve been and who I’ve been exposed to. It’s given me access to a new customer base."