Fan restaurant’s frozen pizza spinoff heats up

udderless pizza thehop byrne

The Hop and Udderless’ Andrew McQuillen and Evan Byrne (BizSense file photo)

What started as a spinoff for a Fan pizzeria is now set to be delivered far beyond the Richmond city limits. 

Udderless Pizza, run by The Hop Craft Pizza & Beer owner Evan Byrne, recently signed a deal with specialty food distributor P10 Foods to distribute its locally made, frozen vegan pizzas throughout the Southeast.  

Byrne spun up Udderless last year after a supply chain hiccup forced him to develop his own cashew-based vegan cheese to use on The Hop’s pizzas. Byrne liked his version of vegan cheese so much that he and The Hop operations manager Andrew McQuillen began par-baking vegan pies and selling them under the Udderless brand to local markets like Good Foods Grocery, Stella’s Grocery and Ellwood Thompson’s.

udderless behive

Udderless now offers a vegan pizza made with fake meat from Nashville-based vegan food company The Be-Hive. (Courtesy Udderless Pizza)

They’re now preparing to ship pizzas from Florida to Mississippi to Tennessee through the deal with P10 Foods. 

Byrne said he feels like they stumbled into an untapped market with Udderless. 

“We haven’t had many people say, ‘No.’ There just seems to be a demand for good vegan frozen pizzas,” he said. “We feel really fortunate to get in (with P10). I think the product’s really going to move well with them.”

P10 is based in Atlanta and was born out of popsicle company King of Pops in 2014. Other local businesses signed with P10 include Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches, frozen burrito startup Sous Casa and AR’s Hot Southern Honey

Byrne said they’re getting set to ship their first pizzas out-of-state this month. 

Udderless’ pizzas have heretofore been made at The Hop, but Byrne said he’s preparing to relocate the production process to Southside food and beverage incubator Hatch Kitchen in anticipation of increased volume. The plan is to hire a few people to staff Udderless along with him and McQuillen. One of those new hires will be a sales rep. 

“I’m busy making pizzas and running the restaurant, so I’m amazed that it’s grown this much without a true sales rep,” Byrne said. 

Byrne declined to disclose how many pizzas Udderless sold in the last year, but noted that sales have increased each month. 

The Hop, meanwhile, will continue to operate as it always has. Byrne said working on Udderless has been a nice break from the usual grind of the restaurant industry. 

“The restaurant business is always hard. I still enjoy it, I love making pizza, and The Hop is super fun. But it’s always a bit of a struggle,” he said. 

“Everything with the frozen pizza has just been so easy so far…. I’m sure we’ll encounter some struggles, like any business does, at some point. But so far, it’s just been nothing but positivity.”

POSTED IN Restaurants

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Mike Ogilvie
Mike Ogilvie
29 days ago

Awesome to see a local business expand through innovation and success. Especially in an exciting market like vegan foods. Congratulations!
I haven’t tried Udderless, but I’ve eaten several vegan pizzas at The Hop and they are amazing!

geri nel
geri nel
27 days ago
Reply to  Mike Ogilvie

Tony Bennet quote. “If you use adversity right, it will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone any other way!”

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
28 days ago

good luck to them. I guess this explains why the Hop quality has gone down so much – it went from great to meh/ok. Restaurants require a lot of management

geri nel
geri nel
27 days ago

The Hop is good food! The cashew pizza is my favorite. If you have not tried it, you should. It’s great to see a small business using innovation to persevere. Well done, and best of luck!