As Hakki walks on the street of Lower East Side in Manhattan, where he opened his first store, he greets and makes conversations with lots of people- some kids telling Hakki what grade they are on now, an old couple giving him a warm compliment for the margherita they had yesterday, school teachers asking if they can have 30 pies delivered for an upcoming event- it is pretty impressive that almost every resident knows Hakki. The young business owner has lots of fans not only of his pizza, but also fans of himself.
What I do
Hakki Akdeniz - Owner and executive chef Hakki is a world champion of acrobatic pizza performing competition. He has been featured numbers of domestic and international Tv shows, magazines and newspapers.
In spring 2013, he brought the awardwinning pizzas to nolita Manhattan. Hakki and his successful story is currently the subject of a documentary film intended for submission to major film festivals.
Business & Entrepreneurship
Whatever you do, never give it up.
This simple yet very strong motto is what pushed Hakki through the bad times to become a successful business owner and entrepreneur in New York.
Hakki Akdeniz was born in a small village in southeastern region of Turkey. As he grew up, he learned to sell and buy things on the street, to polish shoes to make a living for him and his family, which built his keen sense of business that affected a lot later in his life. The life in the village made him dream of bigger future achievement outside the village.
As a teenager, Hakki moved to Montreal, Canada and worked at his brother's pizzeria, where he learned not only recipes of pizzas on the menu, but also how to run a business. Years later when he became 21, he made a decision to move to New York to achieve the big dream of his lifetime: to open his own business. despite anxiety of family and friends, he departed with just two hundred forty bucks in his pocket, no english word, and the spirit of never give up.
After struggling few years in one of the worlds most competitive cities, Hakki opened his first pizza shop in 2009 in the lower east side of Manhattan. Once he started, his passion became bigger and bigger and it did not take him long to expand the business Hakki second pizza shop was launched the very next year in 2010 and by 2016, he opened 5 additional pizzerias and he started few other business with more than 40 employees working for him.
Hakki is currently working on the project to franchise a pizza business that involves healthier pizza. I want my customers to enjoy the pizza as much as i do, and at the same time stay healthy. He says, along with his team, Hakki is working on organic dough and some new recipes with lots of vegetables. Starting in the Us and Canada, he plans to spread the chain in countries in south america and europe as well.
Hakki spent lots of time to create his signature Grandma pizza. With the crunchy thin crust, the tomato sauce that has a bit of sweetness, carefully picked parmigiano cheese, it is one of the best seller at Champion Pizaa Soho.
Hakki started competing in the world championships in 2005 after he saw a performance on TV and got deeply inspired. Upon his first trail, Steve Green, the chairman of the US Pizza team, offered hakki a free ticket to compete. He ended up in the dissapointing 87th place there, which uplifted Hakki with more enthusiam for winning rather turning him down.