by Laura Ingles
If the name Billy Fallen sounds familiar, it's because the longtime baker and pizza chef made a name for himself in Richmond long before last week's opening of his brick-and-mortar restaurant. Fallen helped run Aziza's on Main until his family sold it a few years ago, plus he's the guy behind Billy Bread, the locally-made baked goods with a cult following.
Back in 2016 Fallen set up a pizzeria in the Triple Crossing Brewing Co. in Fulton. His success at the brewery inspired him to expand the business by making his pre-made, frozen pizzas available at specialty grocery stores and ultimately to open his latest venture, Billy Pie, on Friday the 13th of July, which was unintentional, but Fallen says he's not superstitious.
The restaurant, at Three Chopt Road and Patterson Avenue near the University of Richmond, is a cozy place with seating room for 40. The menu is straightforward: half a dozen appetizers, a handful of salads, eight pizzas and a couple desserts. You've got your classics like Margherita and pepperoni as well as options including a white pizza with sausage, a green pie with pesto and smoked scamorza cheese, and the naked option, with red sauce, chili, Sicilian oregano and sea salt.
Appetizers include Italian staples such as olives, burrata and a chopped Caprese salad, plus scungilli, the snaillike mollusk inside a conch shell, and panzanella. Salads are available in entree size or as a half-size, if you want something green to balance out that pizza. A pile of fresh vegetables cancels out all that cheese, right?
The dessert menu is small — just cream puffs and cannoli — but past patrons of Aziza's may be excited to hear that, yes, these are the same cream puffs Fallen's family served years ago.
"My mom comes in and does the cream puffs, which had a cult following at Aziza's," Fallen says. "People would call in the morning to order them, and a lot of people have already been coming in and getting them to go."
For now, Billy Pie is open for dinners six days a week. Fallen hopes to expand hours in the fall when college students return and replenish the city's currently depleted selection of servers.
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