After founding the acclaimed Pizzeoli in St. Louis, Scott Sandler decided to sell it three years later so he could focus on his second pizza shop, Pizza Head. Then, he sold that one, too. Now he’s got a new baby on the way: Pizza Via, scheduled to open in April. But, unlike its predecessors, Pizza Via wasn’t designed with vegetarians in mind.

Sandler, it seems, just can’t stay away from the business for long. “Pizza’s the only thing that’s exciting me to go to work,” he told the Riverfront Times. “I’m excited to wake up in the morning. Pizza’s just something—I love being part of it. And I love serving people.”

Whenever Sandler opens or sells a pizzeria, it makes news in St. Louis. And the fact that Pizzeoli was a vegetarian restaurant didn’t keep customers away. Over time, though, he found himself working harder than he liked after launching Pizza Head in May 2017. “I realized quickly that it wasn’t going to work for me to have two places,” he told Feast Magazine in September 2017. “It’s two 24-hour jobs.”

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He also thought Pizzeoli, a wood-fired Neapolitan pizzeria, needed new blood. “I think, in this day and age, you can’t remain the same for long,” he said at the time. “You gotta keep stepping up your game with all the new restaurants and competition. I feel like Pizzeoli needed a boost of some kind that I just wasn’t really willing to make the time and energy to do.”

With the edgy, punk rock-influenced Pizza Head, Sandler took on the New York pizza style with similar success, again with an all-veggie menu. Then, in 2022, he sold that restaurant to two customers, Dylan Dodson and Sam Driemeier, who’d fallen in love with his pies.

Sandler is still a vegetarian, but he said he plans to offer meat toppings on the pies at Pizza Via. He’ll bake them in a “West Coast-style” oven that cooks best in the 600°-700° range.

But it won’t be the same pizza he’s offered at his two previous shops. “I’ve got my recipe down,” he told Riverfront Times. “It’s a totally different recipe than my two other places—fermented two or three days so you get a lot of flavor in the dough.”

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