Name: Jason Milleisen
Where do you live? Upper Montclair
When did you move there? My wife, Amy, and I moved to Montclair in 2013 after the birth of our 2nd daughter.
Where did you grow up? I grew up on the north shore of Long Island in a town called Miller Place. It’s about half way between NYC and the Hamptons, on the side of the island that faces Connecticut.
How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?
For the past 10 years, I’ve made my living as a consultant to small businesses that have SBA loans that they can’t afford. My true passion, however, is pizza! I know everyone says that, but I take it to the next level!
I recently launched a mobile pizzeria called Little Pizza Heaven. We offer pickup and delivery to Montclair and Upper Montclair, and I’m hoping to upend the traditional restaurant business model. One common theme that I’ve seen over the years in my consulting business is that many small businesses, restaurants in particular, struggle to keep up with sky high rents. By having a mobile pizza kitchen that can pump out about 120 pizzas per hour, I have the capacity to do the same volume at any neighborhood pizzeria, but with a fraction of the overhead and no long-term lease. My goal for the business is to build a fun brand that people love, with an eye towards having a Little Pizza Heaven in every town. In addition to regular cheese pizza that everyone is familiar with, we also feature some tasty specialty pies like fig & prosciutto, Alsatian (it’s a play on the French classic Tarte Flambe), and white truffle mushroom.
Coffee, tea or … ? No coffee or tea for me. I do drink an absurd amount of Hint water though.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?
An early round of golf with my brothers (my brother Scott is a Montclair resident too), then a backyard party with all my friends. Amy and I love to host. Every year for the past 5 years, we host a Fall Festival complete with potato sack races and a face painter. Every year it gets a little bigger than the year before as we make new friends in town!
What’s your favorite local restaurant?
In addition to being a pizza fanatic, I’m also a wing fanatic. My go-to place for wings is Egan & Sons. Their crispy maple wings are hands down my favorite wings anywhere in the world, and this is coming from a guy who attended college near Buffalo, NY!
If we’re going to sit down somewhere, Scala Del Nonna on Church Street is our top choice. The food is consistently amazing. Amy and I are both of Italian descent, and both agree that their meatball appetizer is the best we’ve ever had. Sorry, mom!
What’s on your nightstand?
My wireless headphones that are designed to be worn in bed. My wife likes (nay, requires) absolute silence which she is going to sleep, so I listen to standup comedy on Netflix instead of watching TV.
What are you listening to?
I’m into podcasts, with my favorite being The Pitch. It’s like Shark Tank, except in podcast form. Masters of Scale is also an excellent show for entrepreneurs.
What are your current indulgences?
Girl scout cookies! Amy was in charge of girl scout cookies for our daughter’s girl scout troop this year. All the cookie booths got cancelled due to the coronavirus so we have (had) $800 worth of cookies piled high in our living room. I’m doing my part to get rid of them, one thin mint at a time.
What talent you would most like to have?
I wish I were handy. I spend an awful amount of time staring at broken stuff that I have no idea how to fix. It would be nice to have the tools or the skills to build my kids a playhouse or fix a broken toilet.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair?
I love how everything I need is typically within walking distance from my home. I grew up in a town that was not walkable, and you had to drive everywhere. I can walk to Upper Montclair to get a cake pop from Little Daisy or grab a bite to eat at Falafel hut, or walk to any of a half dozen parks and playgrounds. Having community gathering places really fosters a sense of community.
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?
I hope they say I was a good dad, husband, and reliable friend.