Medina native Nick Robson spent a large slice of his 20s at two places: pop-punk shows and pizza places. Robson, the co-owner of the recently opened pizza shop Ohio Pie Co. in Brunswick, was the tour manager for different pop-punk bands — most notably Cleveland’s Light Years. He spent several months of the year on the road before coming home and working at pizza joints across Northeast Ohio and then hitting the road again.
“It was never a job for me — it was hop in a van with my friends, go on tour and see the world,” Robson says.
While on tour, Robson sampled a plethora of pizzas, trying everything from thin, crackery, square-cut Columbus style to Detroit’s edge-to-edge toppings to Robson’s favorite: Northeast Pennsylvania style or, more specifically, the pizza at Angelo’s in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. There, a sweet sauce is swirled on top of the cheese instead of being spread under it.
“Instead of getting grease, cheese and pepperoni, you’re getting sweetness and tomato,” Robson says. “It makes this heavy meal feel lighter.”
Those tours, and the time spent learning the pizza business while working at different shops, helped Robson, now 31, figure out his vision for his own shop.
Like Columbus-style pies, Ohio Pie Co.’s pizzas are square-cut with a crust somewhere between thin and thick. Like Detroit-style options, each pizza is topped edge-to-edge in cheese and toppings. And like the pizza at Angelo’s, a sweet sauce is spread atop the cheese instead of under it. Garlic oil is drizzled over the entire pie for good measure. The result is a pizza type that Robson and co-owner Aaron Sechrist have dubbed “Ohio style.”
“There’s never truly been that style that everyone can get behind [in Ohio],” Robson says. “So we’re going to give it our best shot.”
“Ohio style” has been a hit so far. During the shop’s first weekend in early February, Robson had to stop taking orders because Ohio Pie Co. ran out of dough.
“People thought us selling out was a marketing gimmick. Everyone was like, Did you make 50 pizzas and sell out on purpose?” Robson says. “The answer is no. We literally made hundreds of pizzas. I’ve worked at pizza shops for way too many years not to be prepared.”