YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Youngstown native Spencer Saylor said handcrafting a great Sicilian-style pizza is all about finding balance, great sauce, thicker crust and fresh ingredients.
"I grew up at a very young age in the kitchen with my mom and dad and grandma, making all the different comfort Italian specialties and family meals and things like that. And so food and cooking has always been in my blood,” said Saylor, who owns the Wizard of ZA.
After losing his job in the hospitality industry when the pandemic hit last year, Saylor, a Capitol University graduate began an underground pizza business called the Wizard of ZA through Instagram.
Word quickly spread, and nearly 28,000 Instagram followers later, he shares a brick and mortar space with Fusion restaurant in Clintonville.
“It's been important to try and keep that underground mentality about it. But still making things findable enough for the general public who aren't as familiar with the stories. Folks taste it and we get that response of just nostalgia, you know. It tastes like grandma's pizza's that she'd make us or, it tastes like family dinner on Sunday,” said Saylor.
After more than 10,000 orders, demand for his pizza continues to skyrocket.
And patience is key; he updates his website every day around noon with a new calendar.
Saylor said his success and central Ohio's willingness to embrace his product is humbling and has made him hungry for more.
“That kind of organic communication is really important. You know it means something a little more to people right now, especially during COVID when you don't really have all these diners and you're creating relationships with your regulars. We've talked about opening a full-service restaurant once COVID starts to die down that not only incorporates our pizzas here, but also all sorts of other comfort Sicilian-Italian specialities,” said Saylor.
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