Shake Shack's owner reinventing another classic

Restaurateur Danny Meyer has been reinventing foods Americans know and love for more than 30 years.

He recently went public with an IPO for his burger joint, Shake Shack, and now has turned his attention toward pizza, taking the humble pie to a whole new level, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axlerod.

The dishes on offer at Meyer's new venture, "Marta," are not your father's pizza, and certainly not your grandmother's.

On Marta's menu, instead of pepperoni, it's sopressata. Rather than garden variety mushrooms, they top it with cremini, and a garnish of arugula. Their pizza alla carbonara comes with egg and truffle oil; all wood fired to a crisp finish.

"We just try to pay close attention to seasonality. We're paying close attention to execution, and we're pushing the envelope a little bit on what classic pizza toppings are," Marta head chef Nick Anderer said.

While the pizza may sound fancy, he said he's trying to stay away from that.

"I think what we are doing here is comfort food. And we're just trying to figure out a way to make, you know, grandma's cooking just that much more accessible to a wider audience," Anderer said.

He fell in love with pizza while studying abroad in Italy. Now running his own kitchen at Marta, his take on pizza would never be confused with Dominos, and he knew taking on high-concept pizza was a risk.

For the past 100 years, pizza hasn't changed very much. America's first pizzeria opened in Little Italy in New York in 1905 and from there, the cheap and simple dish spread everywhere Italian immigrants did.

By the 1950s cheese and pepperoni pies had become an American takeout staple. Today, Americans buy more than 3 billion pizzas each year.

Now pizza's getting a makeover. America's largest pizza chain, Pizza hut, served the same basic pies for more than 50 years, but in November they debuted 26 new ingredients including spinach, sriracha and cherry peppers.

"It's elevation and its evolution," New York magazine food critic Adam Platt said.

He said Americans love pizza because it tastes good and its fresh baked.

"I would say that the ultimate comfort food is fresh baked bread," Platt said. "Pizza has that like umptious, addictive quality."

Platt said these trends are often less about changing tastes, and more about clever marketing.

"There's this great arms race to try and make things interesting to a generation of eaters which is more and more discerning," he said. "They know what a good pizza is, they know what a good hamburger is, they know what a good croissant is. And so in this day in age you're just trying to get people's attention."

That's where Anderer, Danny Meyer and Marta hope to win people over.

"If it's a highly accessible food already, like burgers or BBQ, or pizza; make it as good as it can be," Meyer said.

Meyer made his name in fine dining, but he's making his fortune in comfort foods -- building Shake Shack, an old time burger stand, into a $1.5 billion brand.

"Comfort foods, believe it or not, are more of a challenge to present than even food that you have conjured up that no one has ever tried before," Meyer said.

He's not just trying to reach that standard, he's trying to top grandma.

"It's a really, really hard thing. To hit that magical line of having someone feel like they went out and came home."

A tall order, perhaps, to create high-concept excellence out of something you can find in every downtown strip mall and shopping center in America.

"If we nailed it, if we did this right, there's no way somebody could come in and taste it and say, this isn't delicious," Anderer said.

They might not come in and say it isn't delicious, but they could say they could get cheaper pizza on the corner.

"We are just continuing the conversation. Pizza has been an evolving thing for now close to two centuries, and we just want to keep that alive," Anderer said.

A pizza at Marta costs anywhere between $14 and $23, so it won't necessarily break the bank, but it's certainly more expensive than a $7 or $8 delivery.