Phane Pizza

Christinah Motlhabane

Unlikely topping taking Tutume by storm

Phane and pizza: one is a popular local snack, the other a traditional Italian dish eaten by billions.

Put them together and you have Firehouse Pizzeria’s most popular topping.

The unlikely combination has become a massive hit with residents of Tutume, as the takeaway spot takes the Kalanga town by storm.

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Established last December, Firehouse Pizzeria is the brainchild of a forward-thinking trio: Paulos Nyeku, 27, Oarabile Serabe Thanye, 25, and 24-year-old Masedi Shabi.

Phane Pizza
OWNER: Oarabile Serabe Thanye

The eatery has become famous for its now-signature dish, ‘Phane Pizza’.

“Phane pizza, yes phane pizza, very unusual but you won’t be saying that once you taste it! It tastes as yummy, mouthwatering, and delightful as it looks. You barely notice the phane until you can actually taste it in the pizza. Although it is unusual for phane being in pizza the texture is not that any different from other flavors. It is moist, juicy, crusty, and crispy,” revealed Shabi in an exclusive interview with Voice Money this week.

Phane Pizza
OWNER: Paulos Nyeku

Both ‘phane ya mengwe’ found predominantly at Maitengwe, and ‘mmitwa’ mompane worms are used.

Explaining how they came up with such an unusual topping, Shabi said it was a way of getting the fast-food crazy younger generation eating traditional cuisine again.

Phane Pizza
OWNER: Masedi Shabi

Highlighting the pizza’s popularity, she declared, “We are located in the bokalaka area, a location which most people eat and love phane. The pizza is new, unique so people are always eager to taste it. Even people who do not eat phane are always interested in knowing how it tastes. So far it is only us making this pizza so we do not have competition yet.”

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Shabi further noted they decided to focus on pizzas as most locals in the area were forced to travel to Francistown to satisfy their pizza cravings.

The pizzas are sold in three sizes, with prices varying from P30, P45, and P70 for a large.

For those after more traditional flavors, Firehouse Pizzeria offers a range of toppings as well as cocktails and milkshakes.

Due to Covid-19 regulations, the trio registered their business as a take-away, using their savings to start the business. They eventually plan to operate as a sit-in restaurant and incorporate other fast-food meals onto their menu.

“Just because someone said no does not mean you cannot do it. Persistence gets you far. When you run a business leave friendship or families at home,” advised Shabi, adding they intend to open new franchises soon.

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