Graduate goes from graphics to pizza

Graduate goes from graphics to pizza

Monday, July 22, 2013

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Steve Koehler
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Nate Doran studied graphic design, digital arts and photography at Ozarks Technical Community College and as a result, he now operated The Big Slice N.Y. Style Pizzaria.

"By degree warped into a food career," said Doran, who graduated from OTC in 2011 with an associate’s degree in graphic design.

After finding a limited job market in design, Doran turned to his other talent of food, which he picked up while working a number of Springfield restaurants while going to school. There he rubbed elbows with OTC culinary students.

His experience found him in the kitchens of the Brown Egg, Rebecca's Grille and Valentine's.

"I learned recipes there that I use in my place including my own salad dressing and pizza dough," he said.

The new pizza joint on East Sunshine Street has only been open for about two months but has been doing a booking business with Ozarkers and former New York City folks who have come the Springfield.

"It's been crazy busy, a great reception. There a group form New York who come in here every day," Doran said.

Some of his customers are from New Jersey, too. In fact, the first dollar Doran took in when the place opened was from a New Jersey resident. When the New York group saw that, they insisted Doran put a dollar from them. Both bills are framed and hanging on a wall near the cash register.

A New York pizza, which has a thicker crust that the traditional St. Louis-style thin crust, is also much larger. How large?

"It the size of a small car," Doran said with a laugh.

The large is somewhere in the 18- to 21-inch range and made with a variety of topping from the traditional Sicilian meat pizza to a creamy spinach topping. Doran also makes garlic knots, small balls of dough drenched with fresh garlic.

Doran doesn't have a favorite pizza. He likes making all of them but the creamy spinach seems to be a customer favorite.

Doran isn't the only one with an OTC connection. His fiancé, Stephanie Grant, will start at the college this fall and will study nursing.

"OTC was an awesome place to study," Doran said. "I learned a lot and was glad I went."