Watch ‘Em Explode w/ Kevin + Joseph of TNT Pizza

San Diego pizzeria owners Kevin Gist and Joseph Ghafouri Wehrly bootstrap a home pizza popup into a thriving downtown shop. They rely on diverse menu including Detroit + vegan to beat NYC pizza rival Prince St while staying locally rooted and treasuring their staff.

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In This Episode

  • Owners Kevin Gist and Joseph Ghafouri Wehrly met while working at other pizzerias. During pandemic, Kevin started experimenting with Detroit style pizza out of his home. His wife reached out to their friend Joseph to help turn it into a business.

  • They started selling pizzas for pickup out of Kevin’s home, building up to selling 50 pizzas a night before deciding to open a brick-and-mortar spot. Found an available space downtown that already had equipment, requiring under $50K to open.

  • Focused on great product over profits – do multiple styles very well including Detroit, New York, and vegan options. Joseph’s wife is vegan so they work hard on creative vegan pies. Make their own vegan pepperoni and sausage.

  • Loyal customer base from popup kept business steady when nationally-known Prince Street Pizza opened nearby. Don’t feel they compete for same customers. TNT has more diversity and is locally-rooted.

  • Want to grow sustainably – treat staff well and develop people into bigger roles. Plan to open wood-fired pizza concept as second location with friend who has restaurant experience.

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