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.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1066550

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Page 41 of 92

gocards.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 1.19 39 routinely form during busy days, inspiring one regular customer to quip recently, "If you put up a real sign, do you think it'll make fewer people come?" While still actively working as a business consultant, Edwards started experimenting with pizza baked in an oven he built in the backyard of the 6,000-square-foot Anchorage home he constructed. (Among other personal home touches: an elaborate carved handrail of curly cherry wood; a miniature windmill house in what was originally Megan's bedroom; and a "Drayton Hall Room," with carved-wood elements faithful to the famous mansion in Charleston, South Carolina.) Eventually, Edwards traveled to Italy to study how to make pizza and bread. In Louisville, he dipped a toe into the business with a mobile MozzaPi, loading a smaller wood-fired oven he built into a box truck and parking it downtown on Main Street near Stevie Ray's Blues Bar. ere, he tried out his crusts and topping combinations on after-hours customers. He began perfecting the method preferred by most top pizza makers — 90 seconds at 800 or 900 degrees to produce slightly charred crusts, without overcooking the toppings. When Edwards decided to make his career change, the family downsized to a nearby 2,000-square-foot "cottage." He took out a second mortgage, drained his 401(k) and "wrote checks for five years." But he managed to launch the Anchorage location with $650,000 to $750,000 in startup costs and no business loans. "I planned for success," Edwards says. "I was all-in, but I never thought about it that way." His calculation included one big safety valve: By owning a building outright on busy La Grange Road, he could always lease or sell the property if the restaurant failed to take off. Having little debt and saving an estimated 25 percent or more on opening costs with his DIY skills "puts us in a very different operating position," Edwards says. He could feel his way into the business, experimenting with various recipes and specialty ingredients without facing so much pressure to drive down his food costs and drive up menu prices. Complicating things were his simultaneous forays into bread baking. "I love bread and I love pizza, so they kind of came together," he says. "Bakers who make pizza are different from chefs who top pizza. I'm not much of a person to get into repetitiveness, but for some reason I'm drawn to that pursuit with flour, water and salt. It's fascinating. "ere's something about doing a craft and repeating it to a point where nuance appears. en it becomes mastery, where skill and artistry take the place of repetition."

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