Ward’s Corner has come a long way since I graduated from ODU in 2006, and one of the most cheerful additions, in my opinion, is Your Pie.
Initially, the concept isn’t overwhelmingly creative. A custom-made pizza. Aren’t all pizzas custom made? If not, you’re doing pizza wrong. But Your Pie offers a great brick oven taste to custom pizzas that makes them feel a lot less commercial than a delivery pizza and a lot more tasty.
Your Pie is a franchise, and our Norfolk store is location #26, Hampton Roads’ first. Owner/Operator Jeff Rhoades has territory rights to open locations anywhere from the coast to Williamsburg. “We’re the Chipotle of pizza,” said Rhoades cheerfully.
The concept worried me a little. After all, Chipotle is a huge chain and I’m a big supporter of locally-owned business. But Rhoades is a local, Virginia Beach since ’93. He worked in sales for a long time and knows the area well, and looks forward to joining the local food scene.
“This franchise loves locals,” Rhoades explained. “I looked at probably ten different pizza franchises and in the end I chose this one because it’s east coast based and loves local craft beer.” They did, indeed, have plenty of Smartmouth and O’Connor beers on tap and ready to serve.
Plus the neighborhood has been really great. Norfolkians seem to really love the place (the restaurant was plenty busy with happy families on a Monday evening when I was there) and Rhoades says that the general community response was, “We’re just glad you’re not another mattress place!”
Rhoades is eyeing Hilltop for his next location, but if you can’t wait until then head over to Ward’s Corner and try Your Pie. It’s budget-friendly at $7.99 plus tax for each pizza, salad, or sandwich. Thursdays are Pi(e)nt nights featuring a different brew every week with a steal-able glass.
Oh, and make sure you get a scoop of gelato, too.