By NATHAN HOWELL | Editor-in-chief
PELHAM – George Gilliam is set to enter the food truck world this week by opening Uncle G’s Pizza, specializing in Detroit-style pizzas.
Gilliam conceived the idea of the truck while being a student at UAB. In quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilliam began experimenting with cooking, which became a passion for him.
The truck is unique in that it will start using a pre-order model, which many catering trucks have not adapted to.
“I really wanted to learn to make new things while I was stuck inside my house, so I basically started doing a lot of cooking and baking,” said Gilliam. “I just fell in love with the challenge of making pizza. It got to be a lot harder than I initially thought, but it was worth it. “
After practicing for a while, Gilliam said he started giving his friends a try on his pizzas, which encouraged him to pursue even further.
“Getting to the point where I was selling them was always my goal from the start,” he said. “I’m a student and was looking for something to do while in school where I could be my own boss. Being on a non-traditional path, I was looking for non-traditional routes to go. It has become obvious to open a food truck. “
All of this led to the creation of Uncle G’s Pizza, which comes from the name of Gilliam’s nieces and nephews who he says have helped him get to this point.
Gilliam chose to focus on Detroit-style pizza because it’s something that a lot of people in the Birmingham metro area don’t offer.
“The whole concept is a Detroit style pizza. Nobody really does that in Birmingham, ”said Gilliam. “That’s why I decided to do this specific style. The best way to describe it is a thick crust pizza with caramelized cheese around the edge. I have six different pizzas that I offer.
Currently, the truck will offer slice pizzas until 3 p.m. on a given day, or pick-up by appointment-only orders for whole pies until 8 p.m. each day.
“The whole thing kind of sprung from this new frontier that everyone in the restaurant industry is now experiencing as a result of COVID,” said Gilliam. “People are more open to new ways of getting food and having a restaurant experience. More and more people are making take out. Even with the vaccine rolling out, it feels like there are things from the COVID era that are here to stay. It’s all just a riff of it.
Most importantly, Gilliam said he wanted to capture a sense of nostalgia with his pizza. Create an experience where people can taste something that brings back fond memories of eating pizza with your family as a child.
“If I could capture those kinds of memories with my pizza, I would consider my job a success,” he said.
Uncle G’s Pizza will set up for its first event on June 25 at Old Time Pottery. The food truck takes pizza pre-orders from Exploretock.com/unclegspizza.
More information on offers and future stops can be found on the Uncle G’s Pizza Facebook page.