“As a way to try to keep the staff busy and employed, like most people, we started playing around with, OK, now we have all this time in the kitchen — what have we always wanted to work on?” he says.
The answer was Detroit-style pizza. Zoli’s had the right kind of ovens, and the staff worked to get the dough just right.
Detroit-style pizza is crispy on the bottom, lighter in the middle, heavy on toppings and has a caramelized cheese crust around the edge. The sauce is poured on top after the pizza is baked.
Thunderbird Pies launched as a ghost kitchen with only about 30 pizzas available each day. They sold out in minutes. As they increased the supply, the demand followed.
So as pandemic-related restrictions loosened, the landlord of Cane Rosso’s White Rock location approached Jerrier with a deal. The brewery next door was moving, leaving the space open. After some back-and-forth, Jerrier took the spot.
Originally, they expected the restaurant to offer only delivery and takeout. But they had enough room for a counter, some tables and their ice cream concept, Cow Tipping Creamery.
Jerrier says he wasn’t worried about putting two pizza places right next to each other because they offer different styles and experiences. He hasn’t seen a dip in sales since Thunderbird Pies opened last year.
“It all goes into the same bank account,” Jerrier says.
Thunderbird’s pizzas include the staples, cheese and pepperoni, specials like the chicken parm pizza, combos with different meats and veggies, and some borrowed from Cane Rosso, like the honey bastard.
Appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and other non-pizza items were developed by executive chef Jeff Bekavak, who used to work for Neighborhood Services.
At Thunderbird, customers order at the counter, and food is brought to tables. It’s casual, and there’s a mural by Dallas-based artist Ripman and funny pictures on the wall. Arcade games are at the front. Garage doors open up to the patio when the weather’s nice.
“So it’s just like all of my places,” Jerrier says. “I just wanted it to be a place where I feel like I would be comfortable hanging out in my shorts and my hoodie.”
Thunderbird Pies, 7328 Gaston Ave., 469.577.1077