You might say it was a “pie in the sky” dream – or, specifically, pizza pie in the sky – but for New Hudson dad Brandon Davis, owner of Novella’s Stone Fired Pizza, succeeding in a pizza-making competition quickly became reality.
Davis opened his restaurant in February 2018 and, despite having never made a pizza before, finished 12th place in the world at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas in March of 2019.
The story of the Fig & Pig pizza
The recipe for his winning pie – Fig & Pig – was inspired by a favorite snack of his children: Presley, 5, and Novella, 3 (his daughter is also the restaurant’s namesake).
“My kids were eating Fig Newtons,” Davis recalls. “I wondered if there is a fig pizza out there. I Googled ‘fig pizza’ and I didn’t find anyone who did this. So I just went for it.”
His concoction features figs, bacon, caramelized onion, arugula goat cheese and pizza cheese, topped with a balsamic glaze. Davis selected this pizza for the annual Pizza Challenge at the Michigan Restaurant Association’s show in October 2018. He finished first, allowing him to compete in Nevada.
Davis’ international win inspired him to push forward. He’s registered for another pizza competition in fall 2019 – the USA Caputo Cup in Atlantic City. And he’s introducing new pizzas to the Novella’s menu.
A family business
Despite the heavy responsibilities of owning a business, Davis says it’s allowed him flexibility to have more time with his kids – often he’ll leave the restaurant in time to put the girls to bed and then return to Novella’s to close up shop.
“Owning a business like this doesn’t work if you don’t have total family buy-in,” Davis says. “My wife’s support in this has been the most important aspect. If you don’t have your spouse’s support, it won’t work.”
The business isn’t all that’s expanding this year. His family of four is growing by one more – wife Karissa is expecting the couple’s third child in November 2019.
“The story of Novella’s pizza is all family,” Davis says. “That’s the whole reason why I am doing this.”
Try a slice for yourself
Swing by Novella’s Stone Fired Pizza, which is located at 56849 Grand River Ave. in New Hudson and open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Pizza prices range $7-$20.