For at least two years, chef Kurt Evans has been working to open a pizzeria in North Philadelphia that would employ formerly incarcerated people, to give them a chance to start over.

Evans has an address for Down North. He also has a pizza recipe that he’s been refining. Now he needs money to help with the opening at 2804 W. Lehigh Ave. He has targeted a December opening.

Evans, known for his End Mass Incarceration series of dinners held at Philadelphia restaurants and for his work with the “Everybody Eats” benefits, has started a fund-raising campaign during Black Restaurant Week (Oct. 16-25).

Chef Kurt Evans is planning to open Down North Pizza.
VERNON RAY
Chef Kurt Evans is planning to open Down North Pizza.

Evans, who said he has self-funded the restaurant purchase and build-out, is looking to raise $100,000 through GoFundMe. Supporters can “buy” virtual pizzas that will be donated and delivered to local community organizations during Thanksgiving week. The goal is to sell 100 virtual pizzas per day to cover operating costs, fair wages for employees, and costs related to housing.

Evans wants to provide career opportunities and fair wages.

Down North’s menu will include square pizza pies and slices, wings, salads, fries, and shakes. Pizza topping options will include collard green pesto, short rib, and spicy crab.