From Ballpark to Pizza Joint
Steve Hecht, a performance coach for major league baseball and a former professional athlete, is going to batter up in another field: restaurants. He opens Soulfire Pizza this week in Frisco.
Located in a former Bagel Factory, the place has about 54 seats plus a small patio. Soulfire will do pizza — including whole wheat crust, vegan and gluten-free options — build-your-own salads, desserts, beer and wine. The oven is an Ovention, a spin-off of the popular conveyor oven.
"Between college and minor league baseball, you eat a lot of pizza," says owner Steve Hecht.
Hecht, who currently coaches for the Baltimore Orioles, originally envisioned going with a franchise concept but then decided he could do it better himself. He's partnered with Hector Zelaya, a former restaurant manager who will supervise day-to-day operations.
"Between college and minor league baseball, you eat a lot of pizza," Hecht says. "I wanted something that when you bit into the crust, it was something unique. For me, it's one of the most important things in a pizza, and we make our own. Hector and I found a recipe that we loved. It tastes like a quality piece of bread."
Hecht has lived in Texas since 2003. After a career playing minor league baseball, he got a degree in psychology and began working in the field of personality profiling in the workplace. Prior to the Orioles, he was a mental skills coach for the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners. He also works with high school and college kids to help them improve their hitting.
He says that the "soulfire" name represents a certain way of living.
"Soulfire comes from passion and enthusiasm for life or whatever you're doing," he says. "It's trying to tap into the best parts of people, of eating good food. We show that with a huge mural of Olympians and professional athletes. Soulfire people are set apart by their enthusiasm. That's always been a part of me and baseball."