Published on March 16th, 2022 | by Jenna Mason0
Pizzashop Slings Authentic New York Slices
Oxford Commons Pizzashop offers Brooklyn style pizza, pasta, and more
When a Bronx native voluntarily praises a New York-style pizza joint in Mississippi, you listen. So when Oxford resident Roger Waxler told me that Pizzashop, “sell[s] pizza that rivals what I get back home in New York,” I had to find out more.
There has been no shortage of pizza places to open in Oxford lately; still, Pizzashop, located at 81 Ed Perry Blvd (in the Oxford Commons at Sisk Avenue), has garnered a cult following of its own.
Owner Josiah Urban spent most of his life in Manhattan, attending business school at Baruch College and devoting nearly twenty years to high-end retail. Urban’s wife, Toni Cruthirds, hails from Mississippi, and her family claims over thirty years in the pizza business. Six years ago, the two decided to marry their business and pizza expertise, and Pizzashop was born in Belmar, New Jersey. Their goal was, and still is, “to make as good of a product as we possibly can.”
Pizzashop adheres to a Brooklyn-style pizza while using the best homemade ingredients available. Josiah emphasizes that they’ve “reinvented New York pizza and made it with the highest quality [they] can.” From the pizza dough to the pepperoni sliced straight off the log to the extra virgin olive oil brushed on the crust, Urban is convinced that investing more time and more money into their process allows Pizzashop to offer something different to Oxford diners.
The restaurant offers a variety of specialty pies, such as the Magic Dragon with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, and olive oil, and the Billie Holiday with a sesame seed crust, breaded eggplant, roasted peppers, broccoli rabe, ricotta, mozzarella, and Romano cheese. The Asbury features vegan cheese, jalapenos, caramelized onions, arugula, black pepper, and truffle oil. Other menu favorites include sandwiches built with their homemade focaccia (baked daily) and Aunt Lillian’s Lasagna, which uses a recipe dating back to World War II.
Since opening in April of 2021, Pizzashop, like many Oxford establishments, has experienced staffing difficulties. Urban notes that in the Northeast, he could put out an ad and find applicants with over thirty years making pies. Not so in Mississippi, despite the fact that they pay staff better than most pizza places. Though they’d hoped for a speedier process, Urban’s primary concern was for his staff to feel confident in making everything from scratch and by hand.
“We invest not only in quality ingredients but in quality people,” he explains. “It is harder to make larger pies hand-tossed like this. It is an art form.”
After a year, he’s trained his staff to keep keenly aware of the brick oven temperature and rotate pies perfectly to produce the kind of product Urban envisions.
A key component of Urban’s vision has been inclusivity. Pizzashop offers thin, gluten-free crust that he promises guests “won’t even be able to tell is gluten-free.” Vegan cheese is also a menu option. All of this is in keeping with Urban’s goal to offer “something that might not otherwise be in the market” in Oxford.
“Everywhere has something great they do, and we celebrate all of that,” Urban says. With their specific take on authentic New York style pizza, Pizzashop looks forward to serving Oxford, Mississippi, for many years to come.
Pizzashop is open Sunday through Thursday 11 am to 11 pm and Friday and Saturday 11 am to 1 am. Customers may also order delivery via FetchtDelivery.com. Visit their website at Pizzashopoxford.com for their menu and more information.
Photograph by Tong Meng: “Billie Holiday” pizza at Pizzashop