Underground Pizza Company to Open in Former Olazzo Space

Underground Pizza Company will open later this year in the space formerly occupied by Olazzo at 8235 Georgia Ave. in downtown Silver Spring, according to a report from The MoCo Show.

Initially starting as a ghost kitchen, running pop-ups at several area restaurants including Olazzo, UPC opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Baltimore last year.

UPC co-founder Evan Weinstein, who also organizes Baltimore’s annual Moonrise Festival, founded the company after the cancellation of concerts and large-scale gatherings due to COVID-19 left him and other event planners thinking about what’s next.

“I have a business that I’ve had for fifteen years,” Weinstein told Baltimore Magazine in September of last year. “It’s shut down. I just had a baby; I had no plan.”

While stuck in quarantine, Weinstein began making Detroit-style pies from his home kitchen and selling to friends, but then word spread like wildfire, and soon business exploded. “All of a sudden, I’m selling out of dough from my house,” he recalled.

He connected with local chef Patrick Morrow, who helped open several restaurants in the Baltimore area, including Abbey Burger Bistro, Bluegrass Tavern, and Meli. Through Morrow’s experience and connections, UPC moved into a commercial kitchen space to prep the pizzas.

According to Wikipedia, Detroit-style pizza is a “rectangular pizza with a thick crust that is crispy and chewy. It is traditionally topped with Wisconsin brick cheese, then tomato sauce layered on top of the other toppings (rather than directly onto the dough). This style of pizza is often baked in rectangular steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans or to hold small industrial parts in factories. The style was developed during the mid-twentieth century in Detroit before spreading to other parts of the United States in the 2010s. The dish is one of Detroit’s iconic local foods.”

Olazzo closed its downtown Silver Spring location in May, after a 15-year run. “Fifteen years ago my family decided on our hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland to open the 2nd location of Olazzo,” the restaurant announced on Facebook. “We would like to take this time to thank all of our loyal friends and customers for the overwhelming support through the years. It was always a dream of ours to bring our passion and hospitality to the area. Words cannot describe how appreciative we are to the community for allowing us to operate for 15 great years, but it’s time for us to focus on other pursuits and dedicate our passions evenly. This week will be the last week for operations for Olazzo in Silver Spring. It truly has been a pleasure to serve our local community and feel a part of something great. For those with the understandable cravings of Chicken Cardinale or our homemade meatballs….we are still operating at the original Olazzo in Bethesda. We would love to see you there!”

UPC joins several upcoming restaurant openings in Silver Spring’s Central Business District, including Kusshi Ko, Dog Haus BiergartenFirepan Korean BBQPopeyes Louisiana KitchenMiss Toya’s Creole House, Flip’d by IHOP, and the Commas food hall at Ellsworth Place.

Photo: Underground Pizza Company/Instagram

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