Make that Slice thin and crunchy with fresh ingredients, please

C.F. SANCHEZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Marlo Dilks co-owns Slice pizzerias in Philly and New Jersey with her husband, Jason. They specialize in "Trenton-style" thin-crust pizzas, what she considers a proper Italian pie.
C.F. SANCHEZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Marlo Dilks co-owns Slice pizzerias in Philly and New Jersey with her husband, Jason. They specialize in "Trenton-style" thin-crust pizzas, what she considers a proper Italian pie.
Posted: June 19, 2014

J ASON AND MARLO Dilks, of Queen Village, are husband-and-wife owners of Slice, which makes "Trenton-style" pizza in Center City, South Philly and Washington Township, N.J. The first location, at 10th and Federal streets, opened in 2007. Marlo, 32, runs the business side, designs menus and shops for fresh ingredients. Jason, 38, spends nights in Slice's locations overseeing customer service and quality control. I spoke with Marlo.

Q: What led to Slice?

A: My father was a butcher at 24th and Passyunk and then he opened a deli in Folcroft and another in South Philadelphia. I waitressed throughout college and worked for him. I met [Jason] and he asked me where he should go for good Italian pizza in the city and I said not [Philly]. He took me to DeLorenzo's Pizza in Trenton. I said I'd love to bring that concept to Philly.

Q: Why's Slice special?

A: My philosophy is built on freshness. Trenton-style is actually cheese first and sauce on top. It's also a thin crust, very well-done. Most of the other pizza places around here, it's sauce first, cheese on top and a pureed, real-thin sauce. I use imported San Marzano plum tomatoes, which I actually crush myself for my sauce.

Q: Where'd you get the startup money?

A: We used personal savings. At the time, I was working as an accountant for Urban Outfitters and [Jason] was working as an engineer for his father. We also had help from our families. We bought [the location at 10th and Federal streets] as a real-estate investment with the idea we'd give the restaurant a shot. Rent from four upstairs apartments pays most of the mortgage. The ground floor was already a pizza shop and had a hood, so we just had to spruce it up and buy some equipment.

Q: The biz model?

A: The basic model is takeout/delivery with some sit-in. The two Philly locations deliver to the whole city. We probably do 60 percent delivery and 40 percent takeout and sit-in. The Jersey location is mostly a full-service dining room in a strip mall.

Q: What are your best-selling pies?

A: Our top-seller is the truffle pizza, a white pizza with olive oil, white truffle oil, mozzarella, portobello mushrooms and artichokes. Our most popular red, which we call Americano, has mozzarella on the bottom, which we shred, and the San Marzano plum-tomato sauce on top.

Q: How big a biz is this?

A: We did about $700,000 in revenue last year. We have eight full-time and a dozen part-time employees.

Q: What's next?

A: We'd love to open another location in Philly. I've been looking for a spot in Fairmount.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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