Fridays were pizza night in the Mascitti home.
Chef Perry Mascitti’s mother made the dough from scratch and her favorite pizza pans were worn and well-loved. Adults enjoyed her Margherita style version while kids dug into classic cheese and pepperoni. The table was happily crowded at 6 p.m.
“I remember coming home from school and seeing the bowl of dough on the kitchen counter,” Mascitti says. “The wonderful smell of fresh dough and yeast — that’s what I want to bring to the restaurant.”
Those childhood memories are a touchstone for Blazing Paddles Stone Fired Pizza and Spirits, Tulalip Resort Casino’s newest food destination. The 1,200 square-foot spot opened in mid-July.
Blazing Paddles is the resort’s eighth dining spot and the first food opening in over three years.
The venture was guided by guests who expressed the desire for a grab-and-go option.
Located on the north side of the casino, it is on the edge of the gaming floor so people can seamlessly blend their dining and gaming experiences.
“In terms of dining, quick-service restaurants are kind of the wave of the future,” says Sam Askew, hotel general manager. “Like any good business, we listen to our guests and what they want. That’s how the concept was born.”
The planning process began two years ago. Hotel representatives visited Las Vegas, Chicago and New York to research other destinations and experience firsthand what they liked.
“Our mindset and mandate is to create something you can’t find someplace else. Tulalip’s model is helping to redefine the casino experience so that it’s elevated and refined at every level,” Askew says.
From a culinary standpoint, Mascitti couldn’t agree more.
“The hotel-casino environment allows chefs to be very creative. There is revenue, which allows us to explore. That’s what chefs love doing and we’ve created a great culinary program at Tulalip,” Mascitti says.
Currently, Tulalip employs seven chefs in addition to Mascitti, plus 28 sous-chefs and 195 members of the culinary team not including waitstaff.
For Blazing Paddles, Mascitti followed his vision of making it both quick and quality. Mascitti developed the dough in his mother’s tradition.
The 24-hour dough is made with generous amounts of olive oil and is hand-balled daily at 11 a.m. for the next day’s service.
As many ingredients as possible are sourced locally. A greenhouse in Arlington supplies fresh oregano with the kitchen team hand-plucking each leaf from the stem. In-season mushrooms arrive from a hothouse in Darrington.
Italian sausage is supplied by Rainier Valley’s Mondo &Sons, a third-generation family business that’s been around more than 80 years. Walla Walla onions are sliced and shaped by hand.
“We can’t source everything locally year-round, but we try for as much as possible,” Mascitti says. “Opening a fresh box of oregano? The aroma is amazing! We finish the pizzas with a touch of it. I think it’s those signature little touches that sets Blazing Paddles apart,” Mascitti says.
Mascitti’s “Ten Commandments of Pizza” grace the order line. The first rule is, “Thou Shalt Be The Boss of Thine Own Pizza.” Diners can build their own from a menu of four sauces and over 50 toppings. Chef-designed, ready-to-order combinations include Mascitti’s current favorite — the Four-Alarm Firehouse topped with smoked bacon, chicken breast, sweet chili sauce, Mama Lil’s peppers, baby spinach and mozzarella.
Mascitti’s ultimate goal is serving orders within five minutes of ordering. It’s ambitious, but doable given Blazing Paddle’s 800-degree brick oven. It can cook upwards of 15 pizzas simultaneously. A mosaic of red and yellow tiles flash up the sides like flames.
“We nicknamed it The Beast. It’s so heavy that they poured a two-foot thick concrete slab to take the weight. The restaurant walls were built around it. It’s a beautiful oven, the centerpiece of the kitchen,” Mascitti says affectionately.
The oven itself is another example of keeping it local. It is the largest of the line by Bellingham-based Wood Stone Corp.
“It speaks to the overall culture of the Tulalip Tribes. They’re dedicated to a sense of community whether it’s within the tribes themselves or the greater Marysville-Everett areas all the way to our partner businesses in the north and south sound,” Askew says.
“It’s a laced hands approach that if we help to grow someone else’s business, it also helps to grow our own.”