New York, Chicago, and Detroit are all known for their iconic styles of pizza — but Pittsburgh? Growing up in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Rob Zorch fell in love with the pan-cooked pastry crust and super sweet tomato sauces of Jioio’s signature pies. The longing for a slice similar to these pizzas became somewhat of an obsession, driving him to begin baking and selling his own creations out of a popular Richmond food truck. After two and a half years of peddling pies at breweries around town, this past summer Zorch finally opened up a namesake brick-and-mortar in Carytown.
If you’re longing to try the Pittsburgh pizza that originally inspired the owner, order the Almost Like A Pizza Pie. Initially Zorch added his hometown favorite to the menu in a moment of nostalgia. He never expected to see it become one of his best-selling pizzas — or to meet so many western Pennsylvania expats excited to see a slice of home in Richmond.
Besides the predictable cash cows of cheese and pepperoni, the shop’s two top sellers are refreshing takes on classic flavor combinations. The Upside Down flips the script (and order of ingredients) on traditional pizzas with a base of cheese and fresh basil topped with vodka sauce. Zorch’s most recent addition to the menu is the Grandma Style — a thin, pan-baked pie featuring a more rustic sauce made from peeled and hand-crushed whole tomatoes that’s finished off with salt, olive oil, and a housemade garlic oil drizzled on fresh out of the oven. Baking the pie, taking it out of its pan, and then putting it back in the oven for a bit achieves the signature crisp that has made Grandma so popular.
Out of a desire to protect his staff and patrons, Zorch recently closed the shop’s sleek dining area. As soon as it’s safe again he promises to open the interior back up to customers. “After years as just a food truck, I love having a full dining room,” he says. “It makes it feel like a bustling restaurant which is a lot of fun. The best pizza experiences are when it comes right out of the oven, not to mention having a bar for folks now to offer them a beer with their slice.”
Those uninterested in coming to Carytown can still find the Zorch truck parked outside the Veil or Väsen almost every weekend. If you’re looking for a direct to-your-door delivery, you’re in luck. Beginning this week, the entire Zorch menu will be available via Toast for delivery via local bike courier company Quickness.
“We had to stop doing delivery for a while because DoorDash was so awful to work with,” said Zorch. “We reached our final straw when the DoorDash people just threw someone’s $80 order in the garbage and wouldn’t reimburse us.”
With a delicious menu of pies, a hip physical location, and a reliable delivery service on deck, Rob Zorch finally feels like he has made it big. “It took a long time to get everything operational due to having to run our business during the pandemic and get the space ready. All of that took a lot of work, but it’s been awesome to realize the dream of opening this shop.”