Pigtown’s Joey Vanoni Launches Pizza di Joey Food Truck

| October 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

From the Pizza di Joey Facebook Page

“Where can I find authentic NY-style pizza in Baltimore?”

This is a common question you’ll hear from New Yorkers and pizza enthusiasts around Baltimore. Joey Vanoni is confident that the answer to that question is at his new food truck, Pizza di Joey.

Vanoni was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and learned the art of pizza baking at one of the country’s first pizzerias in his hometown. Vanoni joined the United States Navy after high school and would bake pizzas to lift the spirit of his fellow service members on submarines and at bases. When deployed to Afghanistan, his team built him a brick oven on their base and every Friday became “pizza day.”

Vanoni would also invite friends over to his home in Pigtown, where he has lived since being stationed in Baltimore seven years ago, to make them his famous NY-style pizzas. Vanoni knew he wanted to open his own pizza business one day, but had four different jobs lined up after his last deployment and figured it would be something he would do later in life. Unfortunately, all of those opportunities dissolved after the government sequester.

Based on this, he decided that now was the time to start his own business thanks to encouragement from fellow service members and close friends. He started brainstorming with best friend Tomas Ruperto II, who has a great resume in the restaurant industry including becoming the wine/director at The Capital Grille steakhouse in New York City.

Seeing the expanding food truck scene in Baltimore, and a lack of pizza food trucks in the area, they decided a NY-style brick oven pizza food truck would be the direction they would go. Ruperto became a partner and they worked to create the Pizza di Joey food truck. Vanoni also worked with Federal Hill’s Du0 Signage and Graphics on their logos and branding.

Pizza di Joey has been in transit for about eight weeks and they are hosting their grand opening this Friday at the South Baltimore Little League from 6-11pm. Pizza di Joey has partnered with City Limits on the event and proceeds from alcohol sales will benefit The Baltimore Station. Vanoni has been working with The Baltimore Station for several months, a local charity that supports veterans who are transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction and homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Regarding the pizza itself. Vanoni said, “Pizza di Joey serves the type of pizza you would find at a pizzeria in NYC, but with better ingredients that are sourced from local farms.”

Vanoni gets many of his meats from Evermore Farm in Westminster and many of his vegetables from Gravel Springs Farms in Union Bridge. He also gets one of his sausages from Pigtown-based Sausage Barons. Pizza is available in family-sized 24-inch pies, yielding their appropriately nicknamed “Monster Slices,” and 12-inch personal-sized pies.

Vanoni currently has a full-time job with the Air Force, but is able to take Pizza di Joey out many days for lunch, as his other job begins in the afternoon, as well as on the weekends. Vanoni is also in the United States Navy Reserve.

Pizza di Joey makes many stops in South Baltimore with appearances on Pigtown Main Street, at Sharp/Ostend Street, once a week at his Navy Reserve Station in Locust Point, at Ravens tailgates, outside Spiritas wine tastings in Pigtown, and more. Vanoni can also be found doing prep work for the truck at the kitchen of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Locust Point, a parish he has been a member of since moving to Baltimore.

While Vanoni has found employment, he knows many other veterans have not been as fortunate. “Pizza di Joey employs veterans and disabled veterans to ensure that meaningful employment is afforded to those who have sacrificed so much in order to guarantee that Americans can safely indulge in simple pleasures, like pizza,” said Vanoni.

Vanoni is hoping to grow his business and soon dedicate himself full time to Pizza di Joey with plans for expansion and more concepts. Vanoni also wants to become very involved in the evolving food truck scene around Baltimore.

And, as far as fulfilling that desire for NY-style pizza in Baltimore, Vanoni is 100% confident he is filling that niche, pointing to the interactions he has had with customers from New York and his rave reviews so far on Yelp.

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.