At Constantly Pizza, winner of the Pizza Pie Showdown, it’s all about the customers

Constantly Pizza co-owner Dave Constant whips up a pepperoni pizza at the downtown location last week. Constant has been making pizza for so long now he can spin a dough on his finger like a Harlem Globetrotter does with a basketball. JON BODELL / Insider staff
Constantly Pizza co-owner Dave Constant whips up a pepperoni pizza at the downtown location last week. Constant has been making pizza for so long now he can spin a dough on his finger like a Harlem Globetrotter does with a basketball. JON BODELL / Insider staff
Constantly Pizza co-owner Dave Constant whips up a pepperoni pizza at the downtown location last week. Constant has been making pizza for so long now he can spin a dough on his finger like a Harlem Globetrotter does with a basketball. JON BODELL / Insider staff
Constantly Pizza co-owner Dave Constant whips up a pepperoni pizza at the downtown location last week. Constant has been making pizza for so long now he can spin a dough on his finger like a Harlem Globetrotter does with a basketball. JON BODELL / Insider staff
The downtown location of Constantly Pizza offers a salad bar and a big case of pastries, cookies and brownies, two features the Penacook location doesn't have. JON BODELL / Insider staff
The downtown location of Constantly Pizza offers a salad bar and a big case of pastries, cookies and brownies, two features the Penacook location doesn't have. JON BODELL / Insider staff
The downtown location of Constantly Pizza offers a salad bar and a big case of pastries, cookies and brownies, two features the Penacook location doesn't have. JON BODELL / Insider staff
The downtown location of Constantly Pizza offers a salad bar and a big case of pastries, cookies and brownies, two features the Penacook location doesn't have. JON BODELL / Insider staff

Constantly Pizza is no stranger to awards. The pizzeria with locations in downtown Concord and Penacook is the reigning Cappies winner for best pizza, and co-owners John and Dave Constant were the recipients of the Riverbend 2017 Champions for Mental Health award.

Now they can add another one to the resume: winner of the first-ever Pizza Pie Showdown, put on by the Monitor on March 14, Pi Day.

That’s right, the public has spoken and the answer is clear: Constantly is Concord’s favorite pizza joint. And it wasn’t just the adults who came to the Monitor’s event at the Holiday Inn who thought so – we brought some pizzas into an elementary school to see what they thought, and the results were the same (read more about this experiment on pages 18 and 19).

Due to the overwhelming victory at both the adult and youth levels, we checked in with the Constant brothers to find out what makes their pizza business the best in the city.

“This is not a business,” Dave Constant said. “It’s a life.”

He would know a thing or two about that. He and his brother opened their first shop in 1990 – that one was in Tilton – and they’ve both been heavily involved in all aspects of the business ever since. The brothers start their work days at 6 a.m., making things like their homemade dough and fresh soups. Even though these guys are the head honchos, they’re not afraid to spin the dough and fire up the ovens.

At Constantly, they take a lot of pride in their homemade dough, which is made with unbleached wheat flour – they make so much pizza that they go through about 45 50-pound bags of flour a week. They also use cheese that’s a blend of mostly whole milk mozzarella with a touch of buffalo mozzarella, and they have about 40 toppings to choose from.

Apart from pizza, you can get subs, pockets, calzones, salads, soups, wings and other bites like that. And then there’s the big pastry case right up front (at the downtown location only) that’s always full of cookies and cannolis they make fresh right there, as well as other sweets like lobster tails and half-moon pies that come from Boston.

If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to pass on the pastry case. You can even get any of the pastries delivered. If they don’t have what you want when you want it, they’ll make it to order, Dave Constant said. And while only the downtown location has the fancy display case, the Penacook location also sells cannolis, cookies and brownies – they just don’t have the same selection of specialty, Boston-imported sweets.

Apart from all the dine-in, pickup and delivery orders, Constantly also does quite a bit of catering work these days, too. Catering orders are filled on a daily basis, sometimes up to five or six orders a day. This can get a little hectic when the regular restaurant orders are added to the mix.

One particularly frantic day was when Concord Hospital called at 9 a.m. one morning asking for 240 pizzas for that day.

“They’re a really great customer, so we made it happen,” Dave said.

And that gets at the bigger picture for the Constant brothers. For them, the business is about people more than pizza.

“I’d like to thank all the customers and employees,” John Constant said. “Without them we couldn’t do this.”

Added Dave: “We give to our community 100 percent, but they give back.”

Because both brothers are pretty much always working – either at the store or out at one of the many community events Constantly is involved in throughout the year – they get to know quite a few people. Dave said he “constantly” (sorry, we couldn’t go a whole story without working some kind of joke in here) has people coming up to him saying hi, and he does the same.

“We definitely do have the best customers,” John said.

As much as their pizza awards mean to them, the Constants are also extremely proud of their award from Riverbend Community Mental Health. The organization only gives the award to two to four individuals across the state each year.

“Champions are those individuals who have shown extraordinary Leadership, Advocacy, and Visionary work on behalf of those with mental illness,” Riverbend’s website says.

“We were pretty honored because it’s only one or two people per year,” John said. “We also take a lot of pride in hiring people with mental illness.”

The brothers stressed that their staff is just as important to them as their customers. Given the often frantic nature of the pizza business, things can get pretty stressful and not everyone can handle it.

On extra-busy nights, Dave said, they’ll have about seven people just doing deliveries, about six out back making pizzas and other things, and four up front taking orders and answering phones.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Dave said. So crazy that calling for extra help mid-shift happens “more often than not,” he said.

Such is the life of the most popular pizza joint in the city, we suppose.

When asked whether the busy world of running a pizza company ever cuts into his personal life, Dave said, “It is your life.”

This isn’t to say that he feels trapped by his job – far from it, actually.

“Our dream that my brother and I had was to open our own pizza restaurants to make what we think are some of the best pizzas around,” Dave said.

The bottom line is the Constant brothers are invested in the community and giving their customers exactly what they want when they want it.

“We try to never say no,” Dave said.

Constantly Pizza has locations at 39 S. Main St. in downtown Concord and 108 Fisherville Road. The Fisherville Road location is considered Constantly’s Penacook location, even though it’s technically in Concord proper. The phone number for downtown is 224-9366, and Penacook’s number is 227-1117. Go to constantlypizza.net for more.

Author: Jon Bodell

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