9-year-old Armonk boy creates matzo pizza for Passover
Pizza traditionally doesn't go with Passover.
Leavened foods are off-limits during the eight-day Jewish holiday, which begins this year on the evening of April 5.
Now, thanks to the ingenuity of a 9-year-old boy, it's possible to get unleavened pizza at Nick's Pizza & Ice Cream in Armonk. It's made on Rockland County-based Streit's Matzos with a host of toppings in a professional pizza oven.
It even comes in regular and gluten-free.
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The story of how fourth-grader Hudson Greenstein started his own pop-up business, Yalla Matzah Pizza, within Nick's Pizza dates to last Passover, when he and his dad, Josh, who live near the pizzeria, stopped in for salad. Hudson really wanted pizza. That's when Josh Greenstein, who works for an Israeli wine importer, remembered he had a box of matzo in his car.
"We know Anthony who owns Nick's and so we asked him if he could make it for us," said Josh. "And it was awesome."
Soon after, Hudson's wheels started turning. He asked his father why others couldn't enjoy it.
Hudson got to work tweaking the recipe, learning how to start a business and even doing marketing (he had an ad in Bon Appétit magazine!). So this Passover, Hudson, along with Nick's owner Anthony Brown, are serving matzo pizzas — with matzos donated from Streit's — from now until April 15. The business officially launched March 13, complete with a sign in the window.
Pizzas sell for $21 and feature four full squares of matzo. Hudson is donating a portion of the proceeds to his local temple, Congregation B'nai Yisrael.
While the pizza is made with matzo, it is not officially kosher for Passover — Nick's Pizza is not a kosher facility —so it won't make the cut for more observant Jews.
As for the name, Josh said Yalla in Hebrew means a bunch of things — hello, goodbye, let's go — and is something he says a lot. So Hudson, when they were brainstorming, felt the name made sense.
Josh said the pizza venture has also been meaningful as his late mother was the chef in the family. Whenever they cook, they tell stories about her. She also made matzo pizza, so they're using her recipe. "A special piece of her is tied to this venture," he said, "especially as she was always cooking for the holidays."
You may not find Hudson behind the counter — he's busy at school in Byram Hills — but he stops by on occasion. He even has his own apron and hat.
Hudson, meanwhile, is gratified to be helping out kids who want pizza during Passover. "I'm so happy to be doing something for the community," he said. "I especially love seeing my friends come in."
He's also trying — along with his parents — to spread the word of Yallah Matzah and have other local restaurants put his creation on their menus. He's also not ruling out other ventures down the road.
Said Josh: “He would always get joke books or Lego books from the library, but once we started talking about this, he was coming home with business books."
Jeanne Muchnick covers food and dining. Click here for her most recent articles and follow her latest dining adventures on Instagram @lohud_food or via the lohudfood newsletter.
This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Yalla Matzah Pizza is a Passover pop-up at Nick's Pizza in Armonk