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Dayton’s Not Dead: Pizza Bandit

Pizza Bandit | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian

From New-York style pizza to crazy combos, students can steal a slice of the “Big Apple” while exploring downtown Dayton with the pizza stand Pizza Bandit.

“I am the Pizza Bandit” – how it started

The name “Pizza Bandit” came from the indicative notion that pizza is, well, easily stolen.

“Have you ever taken a slice of pizza out of your roommate’s fridge? You know, have you ever had more slices at a party than you were supposed to? You know, kind of like, like our slogan is kind of like ‘I am the Pizza Bandit,’” co-owner Brian Johnson said.

Opened in Sept. 2019, Pizza Bandit was supposed to be an additional food option for people attending the live shows and activities at the Yellow Cab Tavern located at 700 East Fourth St.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Pizza Bandit could no longer serve at in-person shows.

“But one thing that was needed and kind of necessary was food, and pizza was one of the items, kind of this easy family service, family style, original family style, kind of offering that people were really, really taken to at the beginning of the pandemic,” Johnson said. 

According to Johnson, collaboration with chef partner James Burton allowed Pizza Bandit to entertain creative pursuits, including mac n’ cheese and spicy pizzas, among the other specialty options. Johnson estimated that Pizza Bandit has served 200 specialty offerings in its history.

“But, most of the menu items are derived from all sorts of creative inspirations, sitting around talking about pizza, inspiration from the internet,” Johnson said. 

Enduring challenges

Pizza Bandit currently operates in a food truck connected with the Yellow Cab Tavern. Johnson highlighted the struggles of functioning in these conditions.

“​​Mobile food operation can be very challenging,” Johnson said. “You don’t know if it’s going to rain, you don’t know if people are gonna come out. A food truck only has so much capacity.” 

The owners hope to build a kitchen in the tavern by the end of 2022. In the meantime, Pizza Bandit focuses on collaboration with other small businesses as the core of its practice.

Johnson emphasized the meaning of community involvement and engagement.

“Community is key. You know, supporting local businesses and supporting each other individually. That’s how it gets going, small communities is how you actually affect change in this world,” Johnson said. “To actually be kind of witnessing and living here as this project develops is incredible.”

Location and store hours

Pizza Bandit is located at 700 East Fourth St. and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Customers can also order on kiosks located at The Black Box Improv Theater, The Barrel House, Connect ESports and Two Social. There are no minimums and no delivery fees at these kiosks. 

Alexis Lewis


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