Why Pizza Di Joey Decided to Open Its First Brick-and-Mortar Location at Cross Street Market

| May 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Joey Vanoni launched his pizza food truck in Baltimore in 2014 and, this summer, he will be opening his company’s first brick-and-mortar pizza shop at Cross Street Market. New Jersey-native Vanoni is now a resident of Riverside and said he’s excited he’ll be able to walk to his new workplace.

Though Pizza di Joey has been a traveling business, Vanoni preps his food at a space in South Baltimore and last summer he hosted SoBo Food Truck Nites at Knights of Columbus in Locust Point. Vanoni said he heard local calls for New York-style pizza, which can be seen often on neighborhood Facebook pages, and is happy to bring the pizza of his home region to the neighborhood permanently.

Talking about his search for his first brick-and-mortar location, Vanoni said, “We were looking around at the area – Federal Hill, Riverside, and Locust Point. We’ve been serving here so we knew we had some brand recognition. We were seriously considering one location, but then I was approached in January about Cross Street Market.”

“When they [the leasing team at Cross Street Market] approached me, they were specifically looking for New York-style pizza,” he said.  “I’ve lived in the area for more than 11 years and used to go the Cross Street Market all the time. It’s an honor to be part of the tradition and legacy over there. When I first moved to Baltimore it was the first place I got a sandwich. I took my grandparents there when I was finding my first house.”

Vanoni said he’s excited about the nods to history the renovated market will have, including the neon signs and retro design.

The 679 sq. ft. space in Cross Street Market hits all the features Vanoni was looking for – a license to serve beer and wine, a curbside service window, and the ability to serve late-night pizza.

The Pizza di Joey stall will have an open kitchen and a wrap-around bar so that patrons can watch Vanoni and his team toss pizza dough and cook the 24-inch pies in his Marsal & Sons brick oven. The space will be have a modern look and will incorporate the truck’s orange and white color scheme. It will have a window that opens out to Cross Street so that Pizza di Joey can serve carryout and late-night pizza. Adjacent to the stall will be a common seating area, and adjacent to the carryout window will be an a common outdoor seating area on Cross St. TVs will show sports and Vanoni’s favorite films like Rocky and The Sopranos.

Vanoni is hoping to open Pizza di Joey at Cross Street Market in July or August.

The stall at Cross Street Market will not only be a new restaurant, but the new home base for the pizza truck, where dough and ingredients will be prepped and put on the truck. Vanoni plans to dial back the schedule of the food truck once the stall opens, but will then bring the truck back to a full schedule in 2020.

Vanoni was born and raised in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and learned the art of pizza making 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 is in U.S. Navy reserves and works full-time for the Navy. When the Pizza di Joey stall opens at Cross Street Market, he will be there full-time while still doing his service for the reserves.

Vanoni will hire a staff of about 12 to 13 employees. Vanoni has always hired veterans and will be working with South Baltimore’s The Baltimore Station (TBS) on hiring for Pizza di Joey. Vanoni is on the Board of Directors of TBS, which is a a residential treatment program supporting veterans transitioning through the cycle of poverty, addiction, and homelessness to self sufficiency.

The menu at the Pizza di Joey stall will include its 24-inch pizzas and monster slices, which Vanoni says are the equivalent of half of a personal pizza. There will be six to seven different slices available each day ranging from traditional pies to more adventurous slides like buffalo chicken, Philly cheesesteak, and reuben.  Vanoni looks forward to getting ingredients from some of the other vendors in the market for his pies, and working with local vendors to get the freshest ingredients possible for his pizza.

The menu will also have some sandwiches including a meatball sub and caprese sub. Vanoni’s meatballs and pasta sauce are his grandmother’s recipe “with a twist.”

Pizza di Joey will have cans of soda and offer beer and wine, including Italian beers and wines like Malbec and Pinot Grigio.

Pizza di Joey will be open at the Cross Street Market as many hours as possible, said Vanoni. The hours will likely be 11am to 7pm Sunday to Thursday and 11am to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Pizza di Joey will offer carryout pies and sandwiches, and will offer delivery once Vanoni is happy with the level of service and efficiency at the stall.

“We are really happy to be there [Cross Street Market], we have been getting such positive responses,” said Vanoni.

Since the official announcement of him opening at the market, he said, “My phone has been blowing up. Customers of mine are very excited.”

“I think the whole project will be uplifting for the community,” said Vanoni. “It’s great that CANAdev, Caves Valley Partners, and Mackenzie came together to rejuvenate the market. They’ll make sure our children and grandchildren have a market.”

Read SouthBMore.com’s articles detailing the different aspects of the Cross Street Market redevelopment here.

Photos Courtesy of the Pizza di Joey Facebook Page

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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.