Nomad pizza goes from truck to shops

Business partners Tom Grimm and Stalin Bedon see their hobby grow.

Nomad Pizza opened its fourth location on Locust Street in September. The organization has two Philly locations, a Jersey shop and a pizza truck. | Alex Udowenko TTN
Nomad Pizza opened its fourth location on Locust Street in September. The organization has two Philly locations, a Jersey shop and a pizza truck. | Alex Udowenko TTN

Nomad Pizza Company brings a Roman-style pizza crust as thin as paper from Italy to its newly opened third brick-and-mortar shop, located in Center City.

Co-owners Tom Grimm and Stalin Bedon took the shop from what started as a hobby and developed it into a full-grown business.

“I made pizza at home for years,” Grimm said.  “I installed a wood-fired oven in my kitchen.”

Now, Nomad Pizza has expanded to three locations: two in Philadelphia and one in New Jersey, as well as a roaming food truck.

The truck was the first jump into the pizza business for Nomad. It began in the summer of 2007 with a 1949 REO Speed Wagon, fit with its own wood-fired brick oven. With this, the team caters private events and parties. The truck also travels to events throughout the city, including Night Markets and the Porch at 30th Street Station.

For the owners of Nomad, the truck adds to the pizza experience.

“The pizza truck works as an ambassador to the pizzeria,” Grimm said.  “It gives people a chance to sample our pizza.”

Nomad’s first location was in Hopewell, N.J., a small BYOB restaurant with an outdoor patio for guests. Expanding to its second location in South Philadelphia at the corner of 7th and Kater streets brought more space and a variety of craft beers and wines. It also features free movies on Sunday nights in the upstairs dining room.

The newest location, Nomad Roman, is at 1305 Locust St. After learning Spiga, the restaurant located there, was closing, it was a fit for Nomad’s next opening.

“They had a wood-fired oven, so it seemed like a good area and a good fit for us,” Grimm said. “It is close enough to our other location that we can bike back and forth. We have wanted to open a pizzeria that featured the Roman crust, which is much different than Neapolitan.”

With Roman-style pizza, the pies are stretched almost paper thin and topped with sauce and cheese nearly to the edge of the dough. They take minutes to cook in the 1,000-degree oven. The menu features traditional pies, such as marinara and margharita, along with gourmet toppings, including arugula, spicy soppressata and prosciutto.  Along with pizzas, there are a variety of salads, including a grilled Caesar salad with homemade dressing and pizza crust instead of croutons, as well as homemade meatballs.

When possible, Nomad grows its own basil, herbs and tomatoes or sources its ingredients from local farms, including Applegate Farms, Blue Moon Acres and Cherry Grove Farm.

“We believe in supporting local farmers,” Grimm said. “The food supply in this country is a disaster, and we all need to encourage local farming as much as possible.”

These recipes, although traditional, have their own unique aspects at Nomad. The Roman dough is aged for three days before being made into pies.

“It takes lots of trial and error,” Grimm said. “We made pizza after pizza trying to perfect the dough and the toppings.  We are constantly trying to improve on what we have.”

Some of the staff members once closed down the restaurants and went on an expedition to Rome to taste-test ingredients and pizzas.

“I love different types of pizzas, as long as they are well-made,” Grimm said. “I have spent a lot of time in Rome and have loved going out to their very popular pizzerias. It is different, but delicious pizza.”

Sarae Gdovin can be reached at

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