When the founders of Via 313, Brandon and Zane Hunt, were two brothers growing up in Michigan, they ate pizza two-to-three times per week, Zane estimated on the latest episode of Peel: A PMQ Pizza podcast. The brothers couldn’t have known then that their immersion in Detroit’s culinary scene would go on to make them a lot of money. 

“Here we are in 2024, the country has started to appreciate how good the pizza scene is in Southeast Michigan,” Zane Hunt said on the podcast. “We probably took it for granted growing up. It’s really vibrant, with a lot of different styles. Southeast Michigan has a rich history of Sicilian and Italian immigrants, so we were the recipient of a lot of those pizzas. It took us getting older and traveling to realize how good we had it.”

It was Zane who first relocated to Austin, Texas, where the brothers would go on to open Via 313, a Detroit-style pizza brand that has been scaled from a single food truck to nearly 20 brick-and-mortar locations. Brandon eventually joined Zane, and the duo embarked on a journey of setting up and running a business. 

Related: Via 313 Gears Up to Conquer the West

The Hunts learned a lot along the way, perhaps never more so than when they opened their first brick-and-mortar location after running two pizza trucks. Going from a pizza truck to a sit-down pizzeria was like night and day, Brandon said. 

“When you have a food truck, the bar is so low,” Brandon said. “All you have to do is be open when you say you’re going to be open and get them food…I remember building [our first full-service restaurant]… and my girlfriend asking me, ‘Are you guys going to leave the silverware roll ups and the salt and pepper shakers on the table?’ And I remember thinking, oh my god, I hadn’t even thought about that.” 

“It marked a shift from the heavy bar district presence to a neighborhood focus, aiming to serve families and create a mixed environment,” Zane added. “The experience taught us a lot about the nuances of running a full-service restaurant versus a food truck.”

On the podcast, the Hunts go on to discuss why they ended up accepting a capital investment from the Savory Fund, which acquired the brand in 2020. While the brothers were wary of venture capital, they hit it off immediately with the Savory Fund and ended up feeling like the deal was a “no brainer.” 

“It provided an opportunity to scale the brand beyond what we could do on our own and offered upward mobility for our team,” Zane said. “The decision to partner with Savory was driven by the need for stability and growth during a challenging time.”

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Brandon and Zane Hunt will be speaking at the Pizza Power Forum in Atlanta in August. Those interested can register here.

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