The recipes for Flowery Branch’s incoming pizza place were born in a backyard brick oven.
Peyton’s Pie Co. is coming to the South Hall city in mid-summer, according to owner Nicholas St. Clair, who also owns and operates Antebellum on Flowery Branch’s Main Street.
If the name sounds familiar, you might have seen it at the pizza place’s original location in Suwanee — it closed about three years ago after turnover at the restaurant and the birth of the St. Clairs’ third child left them stretched too thin to keep it running.
Antebellum has also been host to Peyton’s Pie pop-ups from time to time as the family tested the waters in Flowery Branch.
But while the pizza shop has been playing around the edges in South Hall, it almost didn’t come back.
“After having to close Suwanee, it took some soul searching. It was a really difficult time for us,” St. Clair said. “I think we’re on the other side, and it’s been three years. Our son is a little over 2, and the new location will be right across the street.”
The two businesses are across the intersection of Main Street and Church Streets from each other. Peyton’s Pie Co. will be in the shared space at 5609 Main St. with Beer Me, the growler bar that opened in Flowery Branch in November 2018.
The new restaurant will be focused on sit-down dining but will also offer takeout pizza, St. Clair said on Tuesday, March 3.
Pizzas will be made in the Neapolitan style — fresh tomatoes in the sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and olive oil baked in a wood-fired oven — with American toppings.
Even with familiar toppings on the menu, customers will see some Antebellum influences in the pies. For example, instead of white, button mushrooms you’d see on a standard American pizza, expect to get your mushroom pizza with wild mushrooms, garlic and an olive oil drizzle.
The classic pizza at the restaurant will be its namesake Peyton’s Classic, which comes with sausage and pickled peppadew peppers, a sweet red pepper originally grown in South Africa.
Back when St. Clair was considering starting his own pizza place, he knew he needed something to set his pies apart.
First, he hit the books — and discovered that there wasn’t one, two or even three settled recipes or methods for making the perfect Neapolitan pizza.
“If you read 15 different books, you’ll get 15 different opinions,” he said.
So the chef did what anyone would do: He built a wood-fired brick oven in his backyard in order to spend three nights each week for a year practicing his recipes.
“That’s really the answer: I worked on it and worked on it and worked on it, and I feel like I got it,” St. Clair said, adding that the answer was to “knock away all the excess until you have the secrets.”
As with his son, Peyton, for whom the pizza shop is named, the chef is proud of the final product.
Diners can expect to be served whole pizzas at Peyton’s Pie Co, according to St. Clair, and diners can order drinks from Beer Me to take to the pizza shop and vice versa.
There’s one person who St. Clair also credited for the return of Peyton’s Pie — the late Karen Ching, who was a booster of the business and downtown Flowery Branch before her death in November.
“It’s something Karen Ching wanted us to do from Day 1,” he said. “We just didn’t want to disappoint her.”