Louisville Magazine

JAN 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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38 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 1.19 terms." He was making a comfortable salary in the six figures and liking the work. But then came a moment of epiphany. "At the time, my daughter was eight years old and I was fast- forwarding to how she would remember me," he says. "She would remember that I dressed nice and I left and I came back home looking like I had a day of work. She probably wouldn't understand what I did. A lot of spouses don't even understand what their husbands and wives do. I just didn't want to go off and come back in memory for her." Entering the food service industry required a leap of faith. "e business consultant in me says this is probably not a great business to be in," Edwards says, snowballing dough and placing it on a tray as he talks. "ere are a lot of others with better profit margins." Edwards began focusing on the gifts he could leave his daughter, Megan, who is now 14. He wanted to teach her how to work and be good enough at it to enjoy it. He wanted to show her how to start a business. And he wanted the business to serve other people. "e restaurant business is a great culmination of all of those things," he says. "I wanted to see if I could do it, too." e family originally moved to Anchorage mainly to have access to the excellent schools there, though Megan currently is in the midst of a year of home-schooling (or, as Edwards says, "self-schooling"). She comes to the restaurant most days, does her schoolwork there and pitches in where needed. "She works like an adult and we pay her like an adult," Edwards says. "It's great to see her not have an objection to work." On your first trip to MozzaPi, you'll probably pass right on by. You'll plug the address into the GPS and navigate to La Grange Road in Anchorage, hear that officious voice say, "Your destination is on the left"… and likely miss the small placard out front. But who wouldn't? It's planted at ground level like a property-for-sale sign in front of a brick structure inset with large maize-and-blue barn doors. What's inside is indecipherable from the street. You access the restaurant Tom Edwards built through a paneled-window door off the side parking lot. You'd be hesitant to enter but for a plain paper notice taped to the glass announcing the hours of operation. e experience of doubling back and finding your way opens you to seeing a different world, the one Edwards has created inside. "I'm not a self-promoter," he says. "I want people to find MozzaPi in their own discourse." MozzaPi is an artisan bakery offering a daily assortment of muffins, scones, croissants and cookies. It's a mini-milling operation that grinds specialty and ancient grains into flour for bread and pizza, or organic corn into grits and cornbread mixes bagged and sold onsite. It's a micro-roaster serving its own coffee. But first and foremost, it's a pizzeria, baking fresh-ingredient pies in the oven built by — and at times tended to by — Edwards himself. Others have doubled back before you, including Tony Gemignani, the most famous pizza maker in the U.S. today. Currently an owner or partner in 21 restaurants, Gemignani also founded the International School of Pizza at his flagship original location, Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco. Edwards attended the school and was certified there. When Gemignani was on a consulting trip to Louisville several months ago, he remembered Edwards and caught an Uber to MozzaPi, arriving unannounced. "It's definitely a destination place," Gemignani says. "We had trouble finding it. We went back and forth a few times. It almost feels like this bed-and-breakfast setting out there in the woods. "ere's an artsy side of him, and an independent's side that came out," Gemignani says of Edwards. "He's listening to others, but he's also doing his own thing." With the help of family and especially his brother in-law Tom Himmelsbach, Edwards designed and erected the building and fitted together its finished-wood interior using maple, cherry and walnut timber he "salvaged" from various sources and fashioned into beams, paneling and other features. He made the restaurant's tabletops and constructed its centerpiece oven, which features fired white- clay blocks imported from the French company Le Panyol and a gleaming copper hood. He created an oversized chef 's knife, pizza peel and corkscrew that are mounted on the walls, along with a chair big enough to accommodate Abraham Lincoln should he decide to leave his monument in D.C. and take a seat at MozzaPi for lunch. Edwards designed these high walls and vaulted ceiling to accommodate these leviathans, making the place look like a cross between a country church and a converted stud-farm barn. He crafted the 23-foot-tall grandfather clock and other creative pieces at home in his downstairs shop, which he calls the "hamster den" due to its tight quarters and piles of wood shavings. "I wanted something that was uniquely me," Edwards says of the super-sized adornments in MozzaPi. "e challenge of doing some things larger scale appealed to me. I learned early on that you don't need a lot of tools; you just need a big imagination." Anchorage residents driving by who observed the slow progress on the anonymous structure began to find their way in once MozzaPi opened. It took Edwards five years to get to that point, and only now, a year and a half into operation, is he ready to add dinner hours to the existing breakfast and lunch schedule. Lines now

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