Akron will soon (officially) see a new addition to its thriving pizza infrastructure.
Located at 18 North High Street, Totally Baked Pizza is holding a grand opening business shower and ribbon cutting on Monday, October 4. Councilwoman Tara Samples and Mayor Dan Horrigan will wield the scissors for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
John Taylor, co-owner of Totally Baked Pizza, says the event is all about community. He says, “We are inviting our whole block,” not just to introduce his new business, but to also showcase other local shops on the block.
“We’re tying it in with High Street Hop House, Baxter’s Speakeasy, Akronym, The Botanist, Akron [Coffee] Roasters, the Nightlight,” Taylor says. “It’s about bringing people together and showing them who and what we are.”
The event begins at 4 pm with a ticketed pre-party for sponsors. At 4:45 doors open to the public, followed by the ribbon cutting at roughly 5:15 that evening.
In December 2020, Taylor and fellow Totally Baked co-owner Ari Vandendriessche built a menu of Argentine cuisine for NoHi featuring something called a Fugazzetta, a stuffed crust Argentinian pizza, says Taylor. “That’s how the ball got rolling. We were like, yeah, man, maybe we could do a pizza shop.”
Lock 15 Brewing Company, where Taylor is the head chef, features Totally Baked’s creations.
To distinguish themselves from the pack, Taylor says they’ve taken a number of steps, including using homemade ingredients, aside from their imported four-cheese blend.
“We make our pizza sauce in-house, we make our pesto sauce, we make our gorgonzola cream, we make our tomato-oregano oil, we make our meatballs in-house,” Taylor says.
However, due to the size of the shop, Totally Baked is getting their dough from Feddersen’s Bakery in Huron. Feddersen’s, Taylor says, was chosen because it “represents who we [Taylor and Vandendriessche] are as chefs, and what we would do as chefs with pizza dough.”
The vibe, according to Taylor, will also set Totally Baked apart from other pizza joints.
“We are completely focused not just on the product, but we are focused on our people—the guests,” says Taylor. That means cultivating an atmosphere where people can feel at home.
“You’re allowed to chill. You can sit in here from the time we open to the time we close; we’re not going to ask you to move,” Taylor says. “It’s all about community here.”
Sponsors of the event are expressing faith in Totally Baked Pizza’s mission.
Tom Eaton, owner and president of Rafter Equipment Corporation and co-owner of Lock 15, put his weight behind Totally Baked Pizza because of his experience with Taylor at the brewery. “I’ve worked with him over the last several years on Lock 15; he’s a huge reason for our success,” says Eaton. “I would back anything that John’s a part of.”
Summit County Judge Alison Breaux is sponsoring Totally Baked because of a sense of community similar to Taylor’s.
“I just want to support local businesses,” says Breaux, “especially those that are downtown, because I think it’s a really thriving area, and I want to do anything I can to promote that.”
Totally Baked Pizza is coming for your expectations, Taylor says.
“This is a different pizza shop,” he says. “It has that mom-and-pop feel, we’re using recipes that are tried and true and we’re challenging the palates of everyone. We’re not your regular pizza shop; we’re totally different and we feast on that.”
Derek Kreider is distribution manager and a general assignment reporter for The Devil Strip.
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