Local restaurateur James Markham, who had a hand in the creation of several well-known fast-casual pizza brands including MOD Pizza, Pieology and Project Pie, is innovating another pizza-focused eatery that will make its debut in Pacific Beach. Slated for a mid to late June opening, Doughballs by JM Concepts will be a quick-service eatery offering both dine-in and drive-thru service for a menu based on wood-fired pizzas.
Markham is overseeing the design and menu development of the first-to-market pizzeria, which will have communal seating at hand-painted picnic tables and walls covered in vintage black and white tiles. There will be a rooftop patio with ocean views and in the kitchen, two custom-built ovens to feed the dining room and the drive-up window.
Doughballs’ menu will span from eight to ten signature pizza variations plus a build-your-own pizza option. Markham has created a dough, made from a blend of Italian “00” flour and high-gluten flour, that will cook up crisp for dine-in and drive-thru customers in a mere 90 seconds. There will also be healthy salads and a dessert menu based on sweet treats prepared sous vide; Markham has another fast-casual brand in the works called Jarfood that will be based on sous vide dishes served in mason jars. The pizzeria plans to stay open late and will have a fleet of delivery bikes servicing both the surrounding neighborhood and hungry beachgoers; customers will be able to order online or through a dedicated app and have their pizzas delivered straight to the sand.
Location Matters’ Mike Spilky shared, “I’m thrilled to help Doughballs secure its first location for this soon to be new food phenomenon, of drive-thru pizza and pizza delivery to the sand! We will be looking for many more great drive-thru locations shortly.”
In the meantime, Doughballs has already found another outpost in San Diego. Markham, who also owns sushi burrito shop Rolled Up in Hillcrest, will be bringing an extension of his new pizzeria to Liberty Public Market, where a pizza counter will offer a selection of wood-fired pies and a build-your-own option. He will also be introducing another casual eatery, Crackheads, which will feature an all-day menu of egg-based breakfast sandwiches alongside a build-your-own cereal bowl bar, plus custom-topped Pop Tarts and Pop Tart ice cream sandwiches.
Doughballs and Crackheads will take over the current space occupied by Pi Bar and Grape Smuggler Bar which was formerly Mess Hall in Liberty Public Market. Blue Bridge Hospitality and Liberty Public Market founder David Spatafore said, “When we originally opened the market, our intention was to really operate the market itself. Over the course of the past year, we’ve seen a lot of interest from outside vendors, and we’re excited to welcome a handful of new concepts that will continue to enhance the Liberty Public Market experience. The build out for Doughballs and Crackheads is expected to be completed by late June.