It all started with Ali Aldrich almost seven years ago.
About three hours after eating a pizza at Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, she went into labor. Ten hours later, she was holding her daughter Elyn, now 6, in her arms and a legend was born.
Not the baby, to be clear (although she was cute, too). The legend was the pizza, which Aldrich joked had put her into labor. The tasty slice is now known locally as “The Inducer,” and expectant mamas in Charlotte just can’t get enough of it.
For overdue (and desperate) pregnant women everywhere, though, there’s no joke when it comes to tricks to inducing labor. After Aldrich’s experience six years ago, word quickly spread around town about the pie and it’s “magical” abilities — particularly after more and more pregnant women began to eat it, and go into labor themselves.
“The Inducer” is actually a Buffalo Wing pizza with grilled chicken, mozzarella, and a slightly spicy house-made Buffalo Wing sauce. And it’s that very sauce that many theorize is the key to the pizza’s labor-inducing properties, although even the folks at Hawthorne’s are puzzled as to why it works so well.
“We have no idea about why this seems to work for some moms-to-be, [but] we hear spicy foods can sometimes induce labor,” notes Mandii Green, a representative for Hawthorne’s.
To date, seven women — including three in the past week alone — have gone into labor after eating the spicy pizza. Green says that one of the moms-to-be even had her water break right in the restaurant, immediately after eating a slice of The Inducer.
Thirty-five-year-old Kristin Cogan didn’t have her water break at the restaurant, but she did come pretty close. Cogan happens to be friends with Aldrich, and recently, the pair went to Hawthorne’s together and ordered a pie, with Aldrich joking that its magic could work on Cogan, too. Except no one was laughing when Cogan’s water broke the second she finished eating her pizza — right in her friend’s kitchen.
“Worked like a charm,” Cogan tells Babble. “12 hours later, I gave birth to my son.”
One of the most recent birth stories to result from a slice of The Inducer belongs to Henley Jones Schmiedel, 36, a part-time pediatrics nurse at Lavine Children’s Hospital. She’d heard about the pizza from Aldrich’s little sister, and one night, when she was 38½ weeks along with her second baby, Schmiedel admitted to friends that she was more than ready to be done being pregnant.
“They said, ‘Well then, let’s order the pizza,’” Schmiedel recalls. “It’s an ongoing legend in my group of friends.”
At 7:30 PM, Schmiedel enjoyed a piece of the spicy buffalo chicken pizza, and a mere four hours later, her water broke at home. Her daughter Madelin was born just one hour after that. (Yes, she did make it to the hospital first, and yes, it really did happen that fast.)
Schmiedel, who is now enjoying her 1-month-old daughter, tells Babble that she would absolutely recommend eating the pizza to get labor going.
“It’s a good pizza,” she adds. “Four other women have eaten the pizza and gone into labor in the last month. I’m not kidding.”
While The Inducer may now have an infamous status within the Charlotte community, it originally came as a surprise to Hawthorne’s owners, Michael Adams and John Adams. Both men joke that their wives wish they had only known about the pizza when they were pregnant, as they both went well past their due dates and delivered 9-pound babies.
And thanks to all the babies they’ve helped bring into the world, Hawthorne’s is keeping their restaurant family-friendly by making Tuesdays free for kids to eat. But if you’re hoping to nab a slice of The Inducer for yourself, you’re going to have to pay for it. (Sorry.) The pie runs just under $10 bucks for a small and $23 for a large. Then again, I know a few moms who just might say it’s well worth the price.