Each year 50 Top Pizza has included the U.S. in its rankings, a pizza restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has made the list. Mission Pizza Napoletana, opened in 2014 by James Beard Award nominated chef Peyton Smith, has opened a second location, this one in Asheville, North Carolina. 

Mission Pizza Asheville is located at Terra Nova Beer Co.’s new location in the South Slope neighborhood of downtown Asheville, right around the corner from the iconic Orange Peel music venue. Smith is opening the restaurant with the help of his brother, Geoff.

“We’re bringing Mission Pizza to Asheville for a couple of reasons,” Smith told PMQ. “My brother moved there a couple of years ago, and we have been looking for the right project to do something together. We love Asheville as a food town, we love the spirit and embrace the food creativity and unique food perspectives found in Asheville.” 

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“We got to know the crew at Terra Nova, and over time we all felt this could be a good set up for both camps,” Smith added.   

As Smith told PMQ on Peel: A PMQ Pizza Podcast in winter 2024, the duo has found a deep talent pool in the Asheville area. Whereas job listings Smith has posted in the Winston-Salem market do not always generate a slew of strong leads, it’s been the opposite experience in Asheville. 

“I have two ads on Indeed right now,” Smith said on the podcast. “One is for a person on my line in Winston-Salem. The other ad I had was for basically a head chef to sort of run our daily operations in Asheville. The delta in the average candidate between those two locations was beyond remarkable.”

The menu at Mission Pizza Asheville will be streamlined, with high output in mind. There will be four or five pizzas on the menu with just a handful of snacks and one dessert option, all which will often be rotated in and out. The pizza will not be the true Napoletana style found in Winston-Salem, Smith noted, but rather it will be something “inspired by pizza Napoletana.” 

“Frankly, I am kind of over being pedantic about pizza styles,” Smith noted. “What really matters is what consistently ends up on the plate: is it good?” 

Mission Pizza Asheville is already serving up pizza at the brewery in Asheville. It opens at noon, Wednesday-Monday.