Did you eat yet?… with Christian Ziegler of Perla’s Pizza

Alright, alright, alright. 

We’re back with the third installment of our new series, “Did you eat yet?” Every Wednesday, I’ll “sit-down” with a local restaurateur, chef, or foodie to talk about how they got their start, their favorite meals in Orlando, and maybe even sneak in a secret recipe or two. Along the way, we’ll also be spotlighting local farmers and grocers or just talking general food news. (Check out last week’s feature on local CSA boxes here.)

Today we’re talking to Christian Ziegler, partner of the fairly new and very popular Perla’s Pizza in Ivanhoe.

Meet Christian Ziegler, Partner at Perla’s Pizza, Director of Operations for Fast Casual Concepts at Taglish Collective

In a few sentences or less, tell us when you knew you’d get into this business. In Montana when I was 18, my first real job was in the restaurant industry. I fell in love with it. I never pictured myself staying in it this long, but the allure of the fast-paced environment, hard work, and the camaraderie that comes with this industry has kept me engaged.

How did the restaurant/your business/your role come to be? Some of it has been being in the right place at the right time accompanied by hard work and a willingness to learn. I left the restaurant industry for a year and worked in the mental health field. I lost that job because of layoffs and I reached out to Mike Collantes of Taglish, who I knew through a mutual friend. Two hours later, he said “that will work” and then sent me an address saying to be there at 9 a.m. and his restaurant was opening the following week. I showed up at a grocery store food court the next day, and we had amazing chemistry in the kitchen and restaurant operations. A year later, I’m here as a partner making pizza at Perla’s. I know I don’t know everything, so I try to stay hungry, put my head down, and just work.

Your favorite movie star calls and asks to come over for dinner. What’re you making/serving? If Michael Cera hits me up for dinner I am definitely making our Part-Time Lover pizza for him.

You can eat one meal in Orlando that’s not your own — where are you going and what’s on the menu? Linda’s La Cantina, the two-pound Porterhouse — you can never go wrong with a good steak.

What is one Orlando food-related news story that you think people need to be paying more attention to? Soseki, they are killing it and bringing something absolutely unique at a high level that is different than anything else in Orlando.

How has the pandemic affected your business? We had to change how we operate and connect with our guests. We found new ways to engage and stay relevant. We changed how and what we were doing with what the times dictated and let our food speak for itself.

You’re moving. What is your “last meal” in Orlando? My last meal in Orlando would definitely be Hunger Street Tacos, they are one of my favorite restaurants. I would try and order one of everything.

Your calendar opens up and you get one happy hour with an Orlandoan of your choice. Who’s it going to be? Why? And where are you meeting them? I have been sober for a long time, but I would definitely take my mom out to the Old Sanford Jailhouse for their Orange Blossom Old Fashion.

How can Pulptown readers best support you right now? Come eat at Perla’s Pizza, take a photo, and share it on your social media.

Fill in the blank (specific to your time in Orlando): 100 years from now, I hope I’m remembered for… I’d rather people remember the food from places I worked at rather than remembering who I am.

Christian gets us right in the feels. Go see the team at Perla’s Pizza and tell ’em we sent ya, wouldya? And if you need a recommendation for what to order, I’m going with the “It’s Bananas” pie. 

What restaurant, chef, foodie, or farm should we feature next time? Slide into my inbox, katie@pulp.town, subject line: Chew on this, Katie.