During the pandemic, Brian Cauti put down his chopsticks and picked up a pizza pan. The former drummer for local bands, such as Mad Passenger, Royal Street and Lions Lions, and drum tech for Bad Rabbits, looked for a new hobby to take up when his last band stopped touring in 2020. He found solace from boredom by filling stacked pies for friends and family. But not just any pizza: its specialty is the thicker, cheesier square pizza with a caramelized lace crust that is specific to the Detroit style. Cauti says this style was originally perfected by Detroit autoworkers who once used steel pans to cook their pizzas, and few people did that here.
At the time he started playing in the kitchen, Cauti was also working as a sound engineer for MIT, which kept him on the job during the onset of the pandemic. He used to commute three hours a day to Cambridge, and when he suddenly found extra time, he decided to get into the pizza side hustle. Since it was a one-man show, he named the company A Guy and His Pie and created a instagram account to sell it to friends, family and new fans.
Cauti teamed up with his friend Paul Kettelle to PVDonuts making popups out of their commercial kitchen. One day they held a special event where they handed out slices of her pie and advertised it on Instagram. “We posted on our account that we were giving away free pizza, and then PVDonuts posted it just now, ‘Come here as soon as you can, we’re giving away free pizza,’ and a ton of people showed up” , Cauti said. “That was the first way to get it into people’s hands.” Rolls and bites The Instagram food account also shared his pie and before he knew it he had a waiting list of 400 orders because at the time he was only pumping out pizza one night a week.
As the business grew in popularity, he knew he needed his own kitchen space. He had previously worked with Ming’s Asian Street Food at Lorraine Mills in Pawtucket, and learned that they were moving to a larger space in the factory. Cauti has teamed up with Jonathon Kirk of Masa Taquería and they decided to split their time and share Ming’s old kitchen, which they rent from Chi Kitchen. Cauti focuses his time in the kitchen when the adjacent Crooked Current Brewery and White Dog Distillery are open to serve guests, while Kirk serves Masa tacos from rock and rye.
Cauti realizes the value of working with so many other small businesses. “Working with PVDonuts gave me the idea to collaborate with as many restaurants in the city as possible, turning their dishes into pizza,” he says.
A Guy and His Pie did another PVDonuts collab by turning pizza dough into a giant donut to make Maple Bacon Pizza. Cauti and Kirk took out a quesabirria taco-themed pizza together in their shared space. Cauti also formed a relationship with Sam Glynn and Tanner Larkin of Chomp food and drink, and they offered a chomp-inspired pizza burger topped with ground beef, bacon, shredded lettuce, special chomp sauce, and their homemade pickles and onions. He also led a special collaboration with the former Dump Truck (now Mama Lasagna’s), which created clam-filled dumplings that they used to top pizza. Every week, he bakes some kind of special pizza in addition to the regular menu which includes more common varieties like pepperoni, Buffalo chicken and three cheeses and basil.
Once in the commercial space, Cauti realized he could quit his job as a sound engineer to focus 100% on the business. In some cases, he still had a waiting list to order pizza, which allowed him to increase production and availability hours. Now you can get pizza from A Guy and His Pie on Wednesdays. from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Thu. and Fri. from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sat. from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. menu and order drops at noon everyday they are open.
“I leave orders open overnight until I sell or half an hour before I close,” he says. “I’ve started doing QR codes at the brewery so people can order my full menu or I’ll also be doing slices specifically for the brewery.”
Cauti enjoys running his own business as he says he is able to better manage his work/life balance. He’s only open four days a week, because as the only member of the pizzeria staff, that’s about all he can manage at the moment while maintaining a life outside of work, which which also involves a new love of endurance cycling. He recently hiked trails and back roads from Providence to his mother’s house in Vermont, which took him about twelve hours.
“One of the things I said to myself is that I still need to have a good work-life balance because that’s really important to me,” Cauti says.
He says that while he’s still a one-man show, he’s grateful to his girlfriend for helping him with the logo design and pop-ups, and his sister, a food blogger at @prettydeliciouslife, takes photos and contributes to social media. His brother-in-law also participated in the service. He has bigger goals, but not quite yet. “I looked for a food trailer where my endgame would be bricks and mortar,” Cauti says. “I have a lot of ideas that need to come into play. I would love to have a real restaurant with a bar and a cool vibe and people coming and hanging out.
560 Mineral Spring Ave, Pawtucket, aguyandhispie.com