“The pizza category is enormous,” says Pete Howey, founder of the Snap Custom Pizza on E. Liberty. “I think the best way for people to understand what it’s like is using the burger category … you can talk about McDonald’s, Five Guys, BurgerFi; there are huge differences in concept.”
The distinction matters because the Philadelphia-based chain took over the vacancy left by Pieology after that chain abruptly closed all its Michigan locations earlier this summer. The companies both let customers build their own personal pizza, and Howey says having Pieology’s kitchen equipment made move-in easier. But he thinks Snap’s approach stands out.
“We are tremendously different from some of our competitors in that category,” he says. “We’re making our own cheese in-store every day. If you look at our salad offerings, we’re making all our dressing from scratch … Our concept may be the same, but our offerings are significantly different.” Another difference: Snap serves breakfast pizzas starting at 8 a.m. every day.
To go with its fresh ingredient-focused menu, they replaced Pieology’s sleek, modern style with a more rustic, natural look. “We take a lot of vintage farm implements to decorate the locations,” says Howey.
Howey first entered the world of pizza in 1996, with a by-the-slice restaurant in Philadelphia called Peace A Pizza that he opened with his friend, and present co-owner, Aaron Nocks. They rebranded to Snap in 2016 when they switched to the build-your-own pizza model.
Since then, Snap has expanded across the country, focusing on college towns. Howey says they chose Ann Arbor because, of the thirty college towns he visited over the summer, it was “the most appealing mix of residential and college environments, and there’s just a great energy.”
Snap Custom Pizza, 620 E. Liberty. (734) 531-6446. Sun.-Thurs. 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m. snapcustompizza.com