Cheap Eats

Jamie Foxx and Tomato Sauce, A Conversation With Pucci Pizza's Originator

Tommy Pooch reclines against the counter of his resurrected pizza joint, Pucci's Pizza, at 1535 Washington Ave., about a half-a-block from the original location of the early Nineties. Back then, Pooch was just starting to build his mini-empire, which now revolves around throwing mad parties that draw celebs and celebrity sycophants. He fusses over the cheese slice he's just offered a reporter. "It could use a little more sauce," Pooch says. "That's my specialty. The sauce. When no one is looking, I add the sugar and salt. That's the secret. No one knows how much sugar and salt I put in my sauce."

For this writer, the $3 slice was just right: a crispy crust with a nice thin layer of mozzarella cheese over the sauce. In the coming weeks, Pooch says he'll roll out a full menu that includes pasta and hero sandwiches.

Pucci's will be open late nights and deliver, Pooch notes. He's also opening two more spots. One at 23rd Street and Collins Ave. The other at the condo tower 888 Biscayne Boulevard.

Asked why he was getting back in the pizza business after selling his Pucci locations ten years ago, Pooch remarked: "In this economy, pizza and burgers are all people can afford."

Not that Pooch is hurting. He and business partner Alan Roth are still throwing parties for high rollers who want to be surrounded by good looking models and Hollywood stars. And he's still best friends with actor and singer Jamie Foxx, whose recent project Pooch claims was inspired by an idea from his daughter Bella.

Foxx just closed a deal with NBC to develop Tommy's Little Girl, a mob drama the Oscar- winning actor developed that tells the story of a young girl who is orphaned after her mafia family is murdered by a competing crime boss. She grows up to be a lawyer and a deadly assassin who avenges her family's death. Foxx shot a trailer starring Selma Blair in the title role, Paul Sorvino as her father, and Tony Sirico, aka "Pauly Walnuts" from The Sopranos, as the main bad guy.

According to Pooch, Foxx got the idea over five years ago when he told the former In Living Color cast member that he and his wife were having a baby girl. "Every time I ran into Jamie he was always bringing up Tommy's Little Girl," Pooch recollects. "I wasn't sure he was serious until I got a call from Tony Sirico that he landed a part in the project."

Pooch says Foxx showed him a sneak preview of the pilot last month while dining at Randazzo's in Coral Gables. "I get to make pizzas and inspire TV shows," Pooch reflects. "Who would've imagined that?"

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.