“When I decided to open a food trailer in 2013, I saw an opportunity to make a difference by using eco-friendly containers. My wife, parents, business partners and myself decided to use eco-friendly cups made of corn oil instead of using Styrofoam.”
- James Cronin, Owner
Local Business Spotlight
D'Alessio's Wood Fired Pizza
James Cronin, Owner and Operator
In June of 2017, James Cronin and his family finally decided to move from the food truck business to a standalone restaurant. He had been operating a food trailer at the Queenstown Outlets, serving the Eastern Shore community delicious artisan pizza. And let me tell you, this is some incredibly yummy pizza. Using only the best ingredients, James' pizzas are cooked in wood-only dome ovens at 850 degrees. James knows this is the best way to cook his pizzas since the cook time is very quick, it ends up locking in flavor and freshness that cannot be achieved with a longer cook time. If you are not in the mood for some fresh pizza, D'Alessio's offers much more. From subs to salads, to burgers and pasta, and throw in some desserts and appetizers, James offers our community something unique and different. You can also order via your cellphone (yeah for us millennials) and pick it up or have it delivered. However, there is much more to James and D'Alessio's beyond their mouthwatering menu items.
D'Alessio's was literally the only restaurant in Queen Anne’s County that made the proactive decision to switch to eco-friendly food service products. James did this without the assistance of our organization or any other like-minded enviro group pressuring him. James states that “When I decided to open a food trailer in 2013, I saw an opportunity to make a difference by using eco-friendly containers. My wife, parents, business partners and myself decided to use eco-friendly cups made of corn oil instead of using Styrofoam.” Since opening the restaurant in 2017, James says that “they’ve now added sugar cane-based to go containers as well.” If you have ever been to D’Alessio’s, you have seen these containers firsthand. They keep your food warm, just like Styrofoam, and you can easily recycle or compost them when you are done using them. With Styrofoam containers, you are unable to recycle them, so they end up in a landfill where they will spend their life (in the ballpark of some 500 or so years) before they breakdown, if ever. That is, if it makes to the landfill in once piece. Have you ever crushed Styrofoam in your hand? If you have, then you know that it breaks into several smaller, micro pieces that are close to impossible to collect. These tiny pieces make it into our environment and waterways, killing marine life that mistaken them for food. In addition, the chemicals in Styrofoam leeches into your food since your meal is most likely hot, ultimately entering our bodies!
When we first visited D’Alessio’s and met James, not only were we pleased to see environmentally friendly products, but we were thrilled that a local business owner made this decision completely on his own. Our organization struggles to connect with local restaurants on this issue, so we immediately began speaking with James to get his take on why he moved away from single-use Styrofoam cups and containers as well as other single-use plastics. What we learned was that James became aware of the problems our environment had been facing with single-use products, and that was all he needed to make that move. James tells us that “As a 23-year resident of Annapolis and an 18-year resident of Easton, I had always been concerned with the health of the Chesapeake Bay. As a young child crabbing and fishing along the Bay in the early 1980s, we had no concerns of the future water quality. However, I have watched the health of the Chesapeake Bay decline. While the cost of some of these alternatives may be more than Styrofoam, the future health of the Chesapeake Bay, our children, and the rest of our area’s children is more important than saving some money on to go containers. While it may be difficult to absorb the financial shock at first, people will appreciate what you're doing for the environment in the future.”
- Kristin Weed, KIBCU Founder & President