Dion’s Pizza

Dion's stands as a testament to ABQ's culinary landscape, where a simple yet thoughtful menu, a dash of nostalgia, and that famed ranch dressing have crafted a pizza empire that's become a cherished backdrop for generations of family memories.


Mark Stensland

4 min read

"Dion's: A Slice of ABQ's Heart for Over 40 Years"

Let's chew on this: Dion’s isn’t just a pizza place; it’s a rite of passage in Albuquerque. Celebrating over 40 years, Dion’s isn’t just surviving; it’s thriving with a pizza empire that spans across three states. But what's their secret to becoming a beloved institution? CEO Mark Herman dishes it out: it's about hitting that sweet spot between a menu that's carefully curated yet diverse enough to tickle everyone's taste buds—from tykes to seniors.

And talk about a family affair! Some locations come equipped with stepstools so the kiddos can ogle the pizza-making magic up close. Dion’s even runs kid-friendly tours that are all about fostering a love for good food and teamwork. It’s no wonder it’s the backdrop for many an Albuquerquean’s "first job" story—including Herman’s own climb from fresh-faced high schooler to the big cheese.

Their approach? Stick to wholesome ingredients and classic flavors. It's a formula that has families flocking for a slice of that cozy Italian pizzeria vibe, especially after Sunday services or the big game. And the pizzaioli tossing dough at the entrance? It’s like dinner and a show for the little ones.

But let's not forget the culinary plot twist: Dion's began as a Greek restaurant before pivoting to pizzas baked in a serendipitously inherited oven. Yet, they don’t parade a plethora of crusts—just one unique offering that’s become the canvas for toppings like pine nuts, anchovies, and the quintessential ABQ touch—green chile.

Now, here's the saucy scoop: the Dion’s ranch dressing. A legend in its own right, perfected in the mid-80s and so craved that it sparked a local news frenzy over a shortage. My buddies and I swear by the green chile and pineapple pie, dunked in chipotle ranch—a combo that’s pure Dion’s DNA.

Transform Your Pizza Box into a Food Dehydrator (AKA: Pizza Flakes Maker)

Stop throwing away produce!

Every year, Americans waste about 30-40% of their food supply, which then contributes to the 8% of global greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Let's save the planet one slice at a time and turn that old pizza box into a DIY food dehydrator! This hilariously easy project will transform your leftovers into delicious dried snacks.


- 1 large pizza box (clean, without grease – yes, that means ordering another pizza)

- Aluminum foil (to make it shiny like your future)

- Plastic wrap (because who doesn't love plastic?)

- Black construction paper (very goth, very functional)

- A utility knife or scissors (sharp objects: handle with care!)

- Tape (the universal fixer of all things)

- A small fan (optional, if you want to go high-tech)

- Wooden dowels or skewers (also optional, but let’s get fancy)

- Mesh or cheesecloth (to keep it all in place)


1. Prepare the Pizza Box:

Open that pizza box and line the inside with aluminum foil, shiny side up. This will reflect heat and make your box look like a science experiment. Cover the bottom of the box with black construction paper. This will absorb heat and add to the mystery.

2. Create a Window:

On the top of the pizza box lid, cut out a rectangular window, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges. Make it artsy. Cover the window with plastic wrap and secure it with tape. This will allow sunlight in and create a greenhouse effect. Now your pizza box is officially smarter than your last smartphone.

3. Create Air Vents:

Cut small air vents on the sides of the pizza box to allow for airflow. You can make these by cutting small flaps and folding them back slightly. These vents are like your dehydrator’s nostrils.

4. Optional: Add a Fan:

If you have a small fan, place it near the air vents to enhance airflow. This will help to speed up the drying process and make you feel like an engineering genius.

5. Create Racks:

If you have wooden dowels or skewers, create racks to hold your food. Simply poke holes in the sides of the box and insert the dowels through the holes, creating a grid. Now it’s looking like a mini barbecue. Alternatively, use a piece of mesh or cheesecloth to lay your food on inside the box. It’s like a hammock for your snacks.

6. Place Your Food:

Arrange your food items on the racks or mesh, ensuring they are spread out evenly and not touching each other. Give them space to breathe – it’s yoga for your veggies.

7. Position Your Dehydrator:

Place the pizza box dehydrator in a sunny spot outside. The plastic wrap window should be facing the sun to maximize heat absorption. Your neighbors will be jealous of your eco-friendly contraption.

8. Monitor and Rotate:

Check on your food periodically and rotate the box if necessary to ensure even drying. You’re basically a helicopter parent for dehydrated snacks. Depending on the weather and the type of food, drying times can vary from several hours to a couple of days. Patience, grasshopper.

Dehydrating Specific Foods:

Red and Green Chiles:

Preparation: Wash and dry the chiles. Slice them into rings or halves, removing seeds if desired. Fun fact: Spicy foods can increase your metabolism by up to 8%! Drying Time: Chiles typically take 1-2 days to dry completely. They should be brittle and break easily when fully dehydrated.


Preparation: Wash and dry the tomatoes. Slice them into ¼ inch thick slices or cut cherry tomatoes in half. Did you know tomatoes are technically a fruit? Mind blown. Drying Time: Tomatoes can take 1-3 days to dry. They should be leathery and pliable when done.

Popular Herbs (e.g., Basil, Oregano, Thyme):

Preparation: Rinse herbs and pat dry. Remove leaves from stems if they are large. Herbs can improve memory by up to 75%. Okay, I made that up, but it sounds good! Drying Time: Herbs generally dry within 1 day. They should crumble easily when touched.

9. Enjoy Your Dehydrated Food:

Once your food is sufficiently dried, remove it from the dehydrator and store it in an airtight container. Congrats! You’ve just saved the planet one dehydrated snack at a time.

This DIY food dehydrator is an easy and cost-effective way to preserve your favorite foods using just a few household items. Happy drying, and remember, every little bit helps in the fight against climate change!