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Success Stories

Sylvia's Wood Fire Pizza

Industry
Restaurant - Wood Fire Pizza
In Business Since
2024
Incentives
Old Town Facade Improvement Grant

Bruce and Sylvia Kissinger are no strangers to Old Town Tomball. The owners of Fire Ant Brewing Company, an Old Town staple since 2018, have launched a new venture right next door. Sylvia’s Wood Fire Pizza began serving its hand-made pizzas to the heart of Tomball May 1, 2024.

A Match for Old Town

Bruce knew from operating Fire Ant that any new venture should be in Old Town. As soon as the storefront Sylvia’s now occupies became available, he started thinking about ways to take advantage of the prime location. Located on Market Street in the center of Old Town Tomball, the development is strategically situated to attract visitors to Tomball.

“We always wanted to be in Old Town Tomball,” said Bruce, specifically mentioning the location’s access to Tomball’s biggest festivals. “Being next door to Fire Ant also provides some benefits operationally.”

After doing his research, Bruce concluded that a pizza concept could thrive in the available space. He began working with local developers and the building’s landlord, The Hutson Group, to design a restaurant that would combine the best elements of Fire Ant Brewing and a classic pizza parlor. Collaborating with Hutson and long-time Fire Ant chef, Jay Stone, the team created a modern restaurant with a classic, hometown atmosphere. As Stone put it, “old school Italian meets modern industrial.”

“It really was a collaboration to get where we are right now. It came together really well. We tried to keep it very Tomball-centric. We’re happy with the final product and to be on this block doing something new.”

Jay Stone, Chef

Pizza Pursuit

Stone, who led the interior design of the restaurant, has been experimenting with pizza recipes since Bruce floated the idea to him. The trials led him to discover the best methods to create a product sought after by customers. Stone and his team utilize top ingredients like high-gluten flour, high-fat mozzarella cheese, three-year dry aged prosciutto, and California plum tomatoes. Sylvia’s makes their dough fresh every day and displays their ingredients in their open kitchen for customers to see.

“Jay uses all fresh products and it definitely enhances our menu,” added Bruce.

The result of premium ingredients is a delicious menu featuring Neapolitan style pizza, fresh-cut grinders, salads, and gelato. The team is kicking around new menu items, such as personal pizzas, to meet customer demand.

“There’s a science behind pizza,” said Stone. “We wanted to keep the menu simple with quality ingredients. I think we put out a good product.”

In addition to science, Sylvia’s features showmanship. The highlight of the restaurant is the large wood fire oven. Customers can observe Sylvia’s chefs bake the perfect pie from the bar or a viewing window. Additionally, the restaurant is decorated with murals and photography created by employees of Fire Ant Brewing Company. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, Sylvia’s welcomes guests to eat in their dining room, at the bar, or on their climate-controlled patio.

Partnership and Evolution Paves the Way

The Kissingers worked closely with the Tomball Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) to make the Sylvia’s Pizza dream come true. Utilizing improvement grants and rental incentive grants from the TEDC, the owners were able to offset their costs to invest more into the restaurant and personnel.

“The TEDC was great to work with. The grants they offered were very helpful.”

Bruce Kissinger, Owner

Like every good business, the minds behind Sylvia’s recognize the importance of adapting. They recently launched online ordering through third parties, such as DoorDash and Uber Eats.

“We’re still evolving. We’re learning every day what we can do better,” said Stone.

Sylvia’s Wood Fire Pizza is very early in its story but is fencing immediate success. Designed to make customers feel at home, both with food and aesthetics, the restaurant fits right in with Old Town Tomball’s welcoming nature.