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Owners McIntosh and Hacker Turn Their Wood-Fired Dream Into Reality with EVO Pizza

By Marina I. Jokic

If you are wondering, EVO stands for Extra Virgin Oven. EVO Pizzeria is the brainchild of Matt McIntosh and Ricky Hacker, who met while working in the renowned FIG kitchen in downtown Charleston in 2003. Having spent years in the restaurant industry and both possessing an avid entrepreneurial spirit, their partnership seemed inevitable. Their friendship gave rise to the idea of creating their own wood-fired pizza shop and investing their industry expertise and passion into making it one of the most successful small businesses in Charleston.

The first iteration of EVO was a mobile wood-fired pizza oven (essentially a trailer) that McIntosh and Hacker used for catering. Charleston is known for its flourishing local food scene, and unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of customers flocking to the newly opened trailer. It quickly became apparent that the concept was ready to grow into a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant. The pair of friends found the perfect headquarters on East Montague Avenue in North Charleston, part of the bustling Park Circle area. In 2007, EVO Pizzeria proudly opened its doors to many a happy diner.

McIntosh and Hacker come to work at EVO every day with the goal of bringing fun, delicious food and drinks to their community. Having worked in well-established restaurants before, the two partners had garnered professional expertise and knew the ropes of starting a business. The gourmet pizza concept, they thought, would be the easiest to execute and perfect, but not without a lot of hard work. "If it is growing in Charleston then you can find it throughout our menu," Versprille assures us. EVO does not take the quality of their ingredients lightly. In fact, they strive to procure nearly everything from local sources and, in that way, support the local community of small farmers.

When asked what the most unique flavor of pizza EVO offers, Versprille says it's the Pistachio Pesto, with Split Creek Fromage Blanc, Ground pistachios, creme fraiche, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Incidentally, their Pistachip Pesto was voted one of the top 10 pizzas in the U.S. by the Food Network. Some other popular flavors include their Calabrese and Arugula pizza with red pepper pureé, wilted arugula, Calabrese, roasted garlic as well as the Pork Trifecta with house-made sausage. EVO also offers calzones, salads, custom pizzas, a lot of locally crafted brews, and also a bakery shop with fresh pastries and bread.

EVO provides takeout for those strapped for time, says Versprille. Unfortunately, because of the small size of the restaurant, McIntosh and Hacker are currently not offering catering services. Fortunately for us, however, EVO purchased the artisan chocolatier Sweeteeth and now sells their delicious, handcrafted chocolates.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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