You may have already heard that Jim Geary, owner of Woodbridge Pub, is a pretty nice guy
. One of the things he has done to help build the Woodbridge community is open the kitchen doors of his pub on Sundays to a couple of guys who are really into pie -- pizza pie, that is.
Jeremy Damaske and AJ Manoulian are the team behind Pie-Sci
, the Sunday night pizza residency that has been going strong for two and a half years now (to call it a "pop-up" still after all this time would be disingenuous).
Damaske has had a passion for pizza since his teens. His first job was at a pizza place, which is where he learned to cook. Pie-Sci is his fourth job in the pizza industry. He has traveled all over the country playing music and eating pizza, which is how he developed a taste for crazy toppings -- grabbing BLT and chicken Caesar slices in New York; chowing down gumbo pizza in New Orleans.
Manoulian, an engineer by day and a vegan all the time, came on board to help Damaske realize his dream of opening his own pizzeria. Between the two of them they have created a line of American artisan pizzas in flavors like Thai Squash Peanut, Buf-Pho-Lo, and I Can Haz Bacon Cheeseburger (there are vegan options, but the bacon cheeseburger isn't one of them).
When they went looking for a brick and mortar home for their pizzas three years ago, Damaske went to the owner of his friendly neighborhood pub (that would be Woodbridge) for some advice. Instead, Geary gave him space – Sunday nights were slow and the staff and kitchen inventory were usually wiped out after a busy weekend anyway.
Now Pie-Sci has an established following, and soon they will have a home to call their own. Geary acquired a couple of other buildings near the pub last year, and soon Pie-Sci will be a permanent tenant – no longer just on Sundays, and located right next door.
The building, just south of Woodbridge, requires a complete gut. Damaske and Manoulian are doing as much of the work they can themselves, taking a cue from Geary and his DIY efforts with the pub. Geary will hire contractors for major improvements like electrical, then lease the space to Pie-Sci once it is complete.
Pie-Sci's new home is a little smaller than Woodbridge Pub. They will focus primarily on carry-out with a small dine-in space, and will also cater to the pub with later hours than the pub's kitchen. The building has a large backyard with a finished patio where they will add a second wood-burning oven and host private parties. They also hope to get a license to serve beer and wine.
The building has to be rezoned before construction can start, and it will be a long process getting the space ready to accommodate a pizzeria and bar. Still, the partners are eager and plan on moving quickly. Damaske is hoping to be open by May 2014. In the meantime, you can still catch Pie-Sci every Sunday at Woodbridge Pub.
Source: Jeremy Damaske, co-owner of Pie-Sci
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
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