The Grandma-style pie from Pizza Jawn in Manayunk is notable for the sesame that speckles the side and bottom of its crust, adding extra texture and flavor.
Craig LaBan
The Grandma-style pie from Pizza Jawn in Manayunk is notable for the sesame that speckles the side and bottom of its crust, adding extra texture and flavor.

Pizza Jawn evolves from pop-up to brick-and-mortar

How to make it in the pizza world? Find your passion. Read up on it. Bug every pizza maker you can for insight. Bake hundreds of pizzas. Then bake hundreds more. Wow your friends. Do a pop-up, followed by more pop-ups. Get catering gigs.

That rough scenario worked for local pizza gods like Joe Beddia (Pizzeria Beddia), Daniel Gutter (a.k.a. Pizza Gutt, now with Circles & Squares, Pizza Plus, and Bourbon & Branch), and the Jersey Shore-based Mike Fitzick (a.k.a. Pizza Jew, now with Bakeria 1010 in Linwood).

David Lee and his wife, Ana, whose nome d’formaggio is Pizza Jawn, were on their way to that last step when the coronavirus shut everything down, including Manayunk CrossFit, the gym he owns, and for a while, her work as a Realtor.

For months, they worked out of their Montgomery County home, selling pizzas to folks who signed up on a web form.

David Lee, Pizza Jawn owner, in his shop in Manayunk.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
David Lee, Pizza Jawn owner, in his shop in Manayunk.

Then they found a storefront in the middle of Manayunk, and in late summer opened that brick-and-mortar location. Pizza Jawn is not a spur-of-the-moment kind of pizzeria. It’s open three days a week, and you must order online a full week in advance. That means upwards of 2,000 people vying for 360 slots.

The fortunate can choose three different styles: a thin-crust version that resembles a New York City style, a Detroit that has a crispy, properly cheesy edge, and a rustic Grandma square with edges and bottom sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Pizza Jawn, from $18-$23 base pies (toppings $1-$2), 4330 Main St., pizzajawn.com and on Instagram @pizza_jawn