Have you bitten into the Buffalo Wing Pizza at Hawthorne’s New York Pizza & Bar in town? Multiple Charlotte women who have say it induced labor during their pregnancies. In a good way.
First, it tastes good, I’m told. The pizza features chicken and mozzarella cheese, plus Hawthorne’s “special” medium-hot buffalo sauce.
Second, the women who have spoken up said it was high time to have their babies.
The latest is Henley Schmiedel. Her due date was April 10, but by the time March 31 rolled around, she said, “I was just done with this pregnancy, ready to go.”
She was hanging out with her group of girlfriends that night. And they told her, “Let’s order the pizza.”
“The pizza,” or “the inducer,” as the women refer to it, is the aforementioned Buffalo Wing Pizza at Hawthorne’s. As the legend in their friend group goes, this is the food to eat in Charlotte when trying to induce labor. They swear by it.
The legend in their group started with Ali Aldrich. She was pregnant in 2010 and ready to have her baby.
“Like most women in the last few weeks, I was ready to go,” she said. “I barely could wait to see my baby girl, who is 6 now.”
Plus, the Buffalo Wing Pizza was already her favorite, and she knew spicy foods could help. It did — she had the pizza for dinner, went to the hospital the same night and gave birth the next morning.
Then there was Kristin Kogan. She was on the cusp of her due date for her first baby when Ali suggested “the pizza.” She finished one slice and her water broke.
And by the time Schmiedel was near the end of her pregnancy in 2017, she had been told all kinds of ways to have her baby. She heard so many suggestions, from spicy foods, to sex, to eggplant, to pineapple.
So when the Hawthorne’s pizza was brought up by her friends, Schmiedel decided to go for it. She bit into the pizza around 7:30 p.m.
“The pizza is amazing,” she said. “It was spicy. It does have a kick to it.”
Four hours later, her water broke and she barely made it to the hospital in time with her husband. Now they are happily home with their newborn.
And Hawthorne’s is pretty happy about their pizza.
“I think it’s amazing,” said owner Michael Adams of finding out about ‘the inducer.’ “When the first person posted that our Buffalo Wing Pizza induced their labor, several new moms followed up to say the same thing. I bet my wife wished she had known about the inducing pizza when she had our two kids at 9 lbs plus.”
But the pizza legend isn’t exactly backed by science.
When it comes to determining foods that cause the onset of labor, Dr. Leslie Hansen Lindner, an Obstetrician Gynecologist with Charlotte Ob/Gyn, said scientific data doesn’t show that food has any advantage over just waiting.
“Most evidence points to a signal from the baby’s adrenal glands—which is released to trigger contractions,” she said. “Spicy foods may cause some digestive upset, which in turn may cause or even feel like contractions, but this most often doesn’t lead to labor, unless the baby has already given the signal. It remains a mystery if this pizza actually works to cause labor.”
At least for now, the legend lives on.
Photos: Corey Inscoe, Hawthorne’s