Out and About

Oakwood Pizza Box owner talks expansion, working with Goop

When chef Anthony Guerra opened Oakwood Pizza Box on Person Street in 2017, he did not expect it to lead to a trip to California to actress Gwenyth Paltrow's famed Goop headquarters.

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Kathy Hanrahan, Out
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RALEIGH, N.C. — When chef Anthony Guerra opened Oakwood Pizza Box on Person Street in 2017, he did not expect it to lead to a trip to California to actress Gwenyth Paltrow's famed Goop headquarters.
Over the past year, Guerra was about to work with Kim Floresca, the executive chef for Paltrow's Goop Kitchen concept. Floresca opened and ran One in Chapel Hill for three years before moving back to California.

"I was able to work with her for a little bit out in California to work on a project that I can't really talk too much about," Guerra said. "They're doing a really, really great job making clean food that is absolutely delicious."

Guerra said that a video he shot with WRAL's Out and About when the shop opened helped Goop executives get to know him a bit more before his visit.

"They did a deep dive on me and they found that video and they're like, 'great TV,'" Guerra said. "I'll say that they liked it. They said, 'He makes good food. He's entertaining. He's a person we like.'"

While Guerra couldn't say much about his Goop project, he did have big news about Oakwood Pizza's second location, dubbed Little Pizza Box, at Ponysaurus Brewing Co. in Durham.

"I think COVID taught us at Oakwood about what our strengths and weaknesses were for sure," Guerra said. "And we don't have any outdoor dining. We never really had the potential to do it."

Ponysaurus has great beer and a great patio, which made it an attractive collaboration for both businesses. Little Pizza Box is open Thursday through Mondays from 5 to 9 p.m. with lunch service on Saturdays and Sundays.

The menu at both locations stays true to the Neapolitan style pizza Guerra grew up enjoying.

While studying history and economics at UNC Chapel Hill, Guerra's father had the idea to open a restaurant. Bella Mia opened in 2010 in Cary. Guerra made the restaurant's Neapolitan style pizzas. While there, he met chef Scott Crawford, who was working then at The Umstead.

"We just connected. We are two peas in a pod," Guerra has said of Crawford.

Guerra's family decided to sell Bella Mia in 2013. Guerra ended up working with Crawford to open Crawford and Son, just three doors down from what would later become Oakwood Pizza Box.

A lot has changed since 2017 when Out and About first met Guerra. He and his wife, Brett, had an infant daughter then. Now, they have three children and two pizza shops.
Oakwood Pizza Box in Raleigh is open Wednesday and Thursday 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday noon to 3 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.
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Kathy Hanrahan, Reporter

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