by Brandon Fox
It’s been in the works for a while, but the official announcement that Pizza Tonight found a permanent home came this morning. It comes with a cost, however. Aziza’s on Main is closing. The 2110 E. Main St. building will be renovated and a fall opening is planned.
Aziza’s opened in 2007, and two of its best known veterans are chefs Philip Denny and Caleb Shriver. Shriver went on to win Aziza's award for Style Weekly’s Best Restaurant in 2013 and to open the nationally recognized Dutch & Co. with his wife, Michelle Peake Shriver, and Philip Perrow in Church Hill.
Aziza’s owner Mary Gibrall Brooks says in a press release today: “After careful consideration, the Gibrall family has made the difficult decision to close Aziza's on Main. Mary Gibrall (Aziza), prided herself in her family-owned and operated businesses. We have come to a point in our journey where that may no longer be a realistic option and keeping with her example and tradition is very important to us.”
Pizza Tonight started as a monthly gathering of friends at owner Victoria DeRoche’s house, called Pizza Club. By 2010, DeRoche started to see pizza-making as a viable business, and after working with New Ventures New Visions, a nonprofit that helps women get businesses off the ground, De Roche purchased a mobile pizza oven and Pizza Tonight was born. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery was probably the most visible spot to see her in action, but DeRoche and her pizza oven also showed up at other food truck courts and plenty of events across town.
“After starting our business in 2010,” DeRoche says, “and becoming part of the dynamic RVA dining community by offering mobile, wood-fired catering, we are thrilled to take this next step and have a brick-and-mortar home for Pizza Tonight.”