Tuesday, March 28, 2023

New pizza place serving artisan pies opens in Williamsburg

FTH Pizza has opened in Lightfoot to serve artisan pizzas to the local area. (WYDaily/Courtesy FTH Pizza Facebook)
FTH Pizza has opened in Lightfoot to serve artisan pizzas to the local area. (WYDaily/Courtesy FTH Pizza Facebook)

Steven DeFonzo is familiar with family-style pizza places and the value of a good slice, which is why he decided to open a new pizza restaurant in Williamsburg.

From the Hearth Pizza, or FTH Pizza as it is more commonly known, opened May 5 at 312 Lightfoot Road, despite setbacks from the coronavirus pandemic. Lauren DeFonzo, co-owner and Steven’s wife, said it was scary to start a new business in the middle of a health crisis but the restaurant was originally designed as a carry-out location, which made it perfect for the current environment.

What makes FTH Pizza stand out is that the creation of the pizzas is similar to a bakery, Steven said. He makes a certain amount of fresh dough balls that get made into 12-inch pizzas. The dough then sits and fements over the next 26 to 34 hours, after which it is placed in a 900-degree, wood-burning oven that can only fit three to four pizzas at a time.

“I chose [a smaller] shop for a reason,” Steven said. “I don’t want to compete with the bigger guys, I just want to come in here, do what I do and hope people will love it.”

The pizza is made with fresh ingredients that are sourced from farms in Barhamsville and a charcuterie outside of Charlottesville.

As a graduate of Johnson and Wales University’s culinary program in the 1990’s, Steven has been working for a variety of different companies using various culinary skills.

Working 70-80 hours a week and raising a family became too much and Steven DeFonzo wanted to branch out on his own, so he and his wife went out west in 2012 to look at the different wood-burning ovens, bought one and started the FTH Pizza food truck.

When the DeFonzo family moved to Williamsburg a few years ago, they gave up the food truck for a short period of time.

But Steven never gave up on his dream.

When his mother died, she left a small sum of money that helped him start a the business in a physical location.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “We didn’t grow up with much, so my mother wasn’t able to give a lot, but she did give us a little bit of something and this is what I did with it. So it’s all for her.”

To order, visit FTH Pizza online.


Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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