Pulling the Curtain on the Wizard of Columbus de Za
COLUMBUS (WCMH) – 2020 has fallen on the hospitality industry like a house on the Wicked Witch of the West.
Spencer Saylor was one of the victims of time off from the restaurant business, which led to him cooking pizza in his kitchen.
It turns out that was his yellow brick road.
“Pizza, for me, and just food in general, has always been a part of my life,” Saylor said from his underworld in Clintonville.
When COVID-19 closed the restaurant, Saylor cooked pizza at his Columbus home, to make him feel like his home in Youngstown, posting on his gourmet account The Wizard of Za.
“I was doing it more to show what I was doing, and the next thing I know is a business proposition,” he said. “Well, people want to buy it.”
No, they wanted to eat it. Wrong!
“At its peak, around 4,500 people,” Saylor said of his pizza waiting list, adding that the pizza phenomenon he started looked like a cult.
All in a month, but what is this man behind the curtain selling?
“It’s Sicilian style, it’s a bit thicker of a crust, about half an inch,” he described.
“Foccacia bread?” NBC4’s Brad Johansen asked.
“Foccacia bread, yeah,” Saylor said.
Four simple pizzas, $ 20-25.
“It’s not a good way to run your business, Spencer,” Johansen said. “You cannot keep 4,500 people waiting.”
“And yet, here we are,” said Saylor.
He partnered up with the Fusion restaurant, used the space next door, hired five people, all of whom came to ask him for a job and went to a reservation system – 6 week wait to get pizza.
“It was like buying tickets to a highly anticipated show,” he said of open reservations online. “In less than five minutes, he was completely exhausted!”
He served Urban Meyer at home. The Blue Jackets ate it. They make the dough in the morning, bake it twice in the afternoon, and make 80-90 pizzas a day. He really is the magician!
“It just became synonymous with the pizza I posted and before I knew it it was like, ‘That’s the name,’” he said of Za’s wizard.
If I had only the brains, the courage, the heart of this 27-year-old who clicked his heels and found, there really is no place like home.
“I finally have that moment where I feel like I’m not working,” Saylor sighed. “Since I am not going to work. This is where I’m supposed to be. It’s a dream come true.