COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An underground pizzeria in Clintonville with a 4-6 week wait time on a single pie has flown to success during the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Spencer Saylor, 27, conceived The Wizard of Za during his furlough from catering work in March 2020, when layoffs gave him time to explore new business ideas.
“I found myself trying to figure out what to do next,” said Saylor, a Capital University graduate who is from Youngstown, growing up with the city’s great Italian pizzas. “I had dreamed of opening a restaurant, and it was time to research and come up with ideas.”
Saylor noticed that when the dine-in experience evaporated, people still wanted the human contact that comes with comfort food. So he created a ‘speakeasy’ pizza concept.
People would DM him on Instagram with their pizza request, and he’d message them back letting them know the wait time. When it was their turn, the customer would receive the menu and the location to meet him in person to pick up their pie.
“No one can have the restaurant experience during COVID,” Saylor said. “My brain was trying to create an experience that was fun through crappy times. For me, that was creating a word-of-mouth experience.”
At the moment, Saylor is finishing up his list of Instagram orders. From the time someone places an order, it takes between 4 and 6 weeks to get that magical message that you will be eating pizza tonight, and the secret location where you will pick it up.
Normal ordering and day-of pickup begins late January or early February.
“Finding out where to go, and then meeting them — we are still mimicking that with the bricks and mortar shop, but I’m in the same location,” Salor said. “I was doing all of this by myself before, and now there is a team of chefs working on the orders.”
Sushi chain Fusian will be partnering with The Wizard of Za. For more information, follow Wizard of Za on Instagram or visit go to the website.