Editor's Note: Please note that due to inclement weather, the grand opening and free-pie offer and events will take place on March 6 at 11 a.m.
Dough is on the rise in Charm City, and a crop of new spots in the area including Pie-Zetta, Pie Five Pizza Co., and the upcoming Pie 360, are setting themselves apart from the pie pack with a D-I-Y twist. The latest restaurant getting in on the trend is Pizza Studio, which will open in Charles Village this Thursday.
The new create-your-own pizza spot will be kicking off its first day of service with free—yes, we said free—pies and giveaway raffles, on March 5 beginning at 11 a.m.
Since starting the business in 2012, co-founders—and Maryland natives—Ron Biskin and Samit Varma, who met on the West Coast, have opened 26 stores in six different states, although the Charm City location marks the California-based restaurant's first store in Maryland.
The new shop sits at 3201 St. Paul Street, on the stomping grounds of The Johns Hopkins University, and will offer online ordering and extended late-night hours to appeal to students.
"Our first store opened right across the street from USC. and did very well," says Biskin, who previously worked for Wolfgang Puck's pizza empire. "Situating ourselves near college environments is great for us because our concept is very attractive to people who are on the go."
Pizza Studio offers a unique selection of artisanal crusts, such as Moroccan, flaxseed, and gluten-free options, as well as artisanal cheeses, specialty sauces, and a wide array of toppings allowing diners to create their own pizza "masterpiece."
In keeping with the artful motif, each Pizza Studio location boasts a signature rotating "Starving Artist Wall," which gives local artists the opportunity to display pieces in the shop free of charge.
For the kickoff, the restaurant will be serving free 11-inch pies, and will also team up with student-run Johns Hopkins charities—like Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity—to encourage donations in lieu of customers paying for their pizza.
Biskin is excited to be able to bring this concept to Baltimore, while also being able to use the restaurant as an outlet to give back to the community.
"People's food IQ is higher than ever, they know exactly what they want and how they want it," he says. "Both my partner and I have lived in Maryland before and it's really cool to come back and bring our concept to our hometown."