Uncle G’s Pizza food truck offers Detroit-style pies

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

PELHAM – George Gilliam is set to step into the food truck world this week as he opens Uncle G’s Pizza, which specializes in Detroit-style pizza.

Gilliam conceived the idea for the truck while also being a student at UAB. While quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilliam started experimenting with cooking, which developed into a passion for him.

The truck is unique in that it will begin using a preorder model, which a lot of food trucks have not adapted to.

“I really wanted to learn how to do new things while I was stuck inside my house so I basically started doing a lot of cooking and baking,” Gilliam said. “I just kind of fell in love with the challenge of making pizza. It turned into something a lot more challenging than I originally thought, but it was worth it.”

After practicing for a while, Gilliam said he was encouraged to open the food truck after friends tried his pizza and told him to pursue it.

“Getting to the point where I was selling them was always my goal early on,” he said. “I am a student and I was looking for something to do while in school where I could be my own boss. Being on a non-traditional path, I was looking for non-traditional routes to go. It became an obvious choice to open a food truck.”

All of this led to the creation of Uncle G’s Pizza. Gilliam said the name came from his nieces and nephews who helped get him to this point.

Gilliam chose to focus on Detroit-style pizza because it is something that a lot of people in the Birmingham-metro area are not offering.

“The whole concept is Detroit-style pizza. No one really does that in Birmingham, which is why I decided to do that specific style,” Gilliam said. “The best way I could describe it is a thick-crust, pan-style pizza with caramelized cheese around the rim. I have six different pizzas that I am offering.”

Currently, the truck will offer by-the-slice pizza until 3 p.m. on any given day, or appointment-only pickup orders for whole pies until 8 p.m. each day.

“The whole thing is kind of born out of this new frontier that everyone in the restaurant industry is experiencing now as a result of COVID,” Gilliam explained. “People are more open to new ways of getting food and having a restaurant experience. More people are doing takeout. Even with the vaccine rollout, it kind of feels like there are things from the COVID era that are here to stay. This whole thing is just riffing off of that.”

Most importantly, Gilliam said that he wants to capture a sense of nostalgia with his pizza. Creating an experience where people can taste something that brings back fond memories of eating pizza with your family as a child.

“If I can capture those kinds of memories with my pizza, I would consider my job a success,” he said.

Uncle G’s Pizza will set up for its first event on June 24 at Old Time Pottery. The food truck takes preorders for pizzas using Exploretock.com/unclegspizza.

More information about offerings and future stops can be found on the Uncle G’s Pizza Facebook page.