Mourning the Loss of Bob Petrillose, Inventor of French Bread Pizza

Earlier this week Slice, Serious Eats’ pizza site, reported the sad loss of Bob Petrillose, founder of The Hot Truck food truck serving Cornell University, and inventor of French bread pizza.

Petrillose “hit on the winning combination of pizza sauce, fresh cheese and toppings, and French bread, dubbed the ‘Poor Man’s Pizza,’ or ‘PMP’ in the 1960s,” writes Mark H. Anbinder, a reporter from Petrillose’s hometown of Ithaca, New York. The idea was later licensed to Stouffer’s.

Serious Eats community member crob77 had this to say about visiting The Hot Truck during his time at Cornell:

“Bob built his life around the Hot Truck, striving to put out a very, very high quality product. He was a permanent fixture in the truck, rarely missing a day, and making sandwiches from the time the truck arrived at its spot—around 10 p.m. ... till the truck closed and drove away for the evening—ranged from 2:30 till around 5 a.m. ... Bob knew most of the regulars’ names, would ask how you were doing, and then would recount stories of his past 40+ years. He would also make fun of the drunk idiots outside (I was often drunk myself … but it was still funny to watch).”

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