Popular pop-up pizza shop brings a different style to new Concord location

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 06-12-2023 7:15 PM

If you’re looking for a slice of traditional cheese pizza, SourJoe’s Pizzeria in downtown Concord may not be the place for you. 

Geologist turned pizza connoisseur Greg Sturgis turned his love for baking with sourdough into an eclectic-styled pizza that shares a combination of thick Sicilian base and the squared Detroit style — twice baked with a crunchy, chewy crust. 

“I wanted to do a Roman-style pizza but I also enjoy working with sourdough quite a bit,” Sturgis said. “It’s challenging and I wanted to incorporate the art of bread baking into that.” 

Using sourdough adds an element of hydration that allows for a tender and light middle with a crispy outside and a rise that traditional yeast doesn’t bring, he continued. An avid baker in his downtime, Sturgis uses sourdough when baking at home and wanted to bring that layer of complexity to his craft pizza brand.

“It kind of makes it different and brings a different flavor profile to the crust,” he said. “I think that Concord has quite a bit of good pizza and I wanted to elevate that by providing a product that’s going to hit the standard for pizza that has already been set.”

The toppings, which often include whipped ricotta, fresh vegetables, traditional Italian meats and homemade sauce, are inspirations from other pizza places Sturgis has visited. Paulie Gee’s in New York inspired Sturgis to introduce a pepperoni, hot honey and ricotta pizza to the city, a fan favorite. He’s drawn inspiration from other countries like Germany and Italy and incorporated their styles and flavors into his offerings. 

“You can get pizza by the slice from any of these local places but this place is tremendous,” said Jason Rubinstein, who first tried the pizza six months ago at a company event. “There is nothing like this around here – it has a unique shape and unique toppings and it’s something that just stands out.”

In 2008, Sturgis moved to Concord from Illinois to be closer to his family in New Hampshire after leaving the Air Force. He attended college and graduated with a degree in environmental science and biology before starting his career with the U.S. Geological Survey and working part-time as a baker at Crust and Crumb in Concord. 

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After ending his six-year employment with the USGS last year in search of something new, Sturgis contacted local breweries, like Litherman’s Limited Brewery, Henniker Brewing Company and Feathered Friend Brewing to partner with them and use their commercial kitchens to sell his product. The popularity, he continued, inspired regular pop-ups at different locations and restaurants throughout Concord and the surrounding areas. 

“I would haul around my equipment, my little oven and the whole deal and that’s how we got started,” he said. “If the breweries choose not to do food and we can pair up with another company that has a specialty offer as well, it’s a win-win.” 

When the Pleasant Street location opened up, Sturgis knew he wanted to lease it for a brick-and-mortar shop, he said, and quickly moved in his baking equipment, purchased new ovens and renovated the inside, which was previously a hookah lounge. 

Though a regular cheese pizza is not on the menu and Sturgis only sells pizza by the slice, full-sized pies and an array of different toppings and flavors will be offered in the coming weeks as he continues to get his feet on the ground. 

“I have all my equipment in the new spot. It’s right downtown so I can offer slices for lunch and it just fits what I had in mind,” he said of the space. “I hope our style differentiates us and we’re excited to put out good pizza here every day and put our energy into this.” 

Once fully operational in the coming weeks, the shop will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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