Mia Marco’s Pizza is a food truck in the area of San Antonio, Texas. It’s open for a grand total of 20 hours a week—six hours at the Old Main Ice House in Cibolo on Thursdays, then in Selma for a handful of hours in the evening, Friday through Sunday. And it just won two prizes at the International Pizza Challenge, which describes itself as the largest pizza-making competition in the U.S.
Derek Sanchez, a physical therapy practitioner by trade, spent nine years putting his scientific mind to work, researching what makes a great New York-style pizza. These aren’t his first prizes—he previously won the Caputo Cup—but they’re pretty cool all the same. Sanchez and Joey Hernandez, who San Antonio’s ABC 12 call “The duo behind Mia Marco’s,” took first place in the Roman division. Here are the characteristics that the International Pizza Challenge use to describe Roman pizza in the official rules:
Flour: A variety of flour types are acceptable.
Dough: Your dough should have a hydration rate of 70% or greater.
Shape: Each pizza is required to be at least 29-inches in length.
Crust: Crunchy bottom, soft inside. Served either thick or thin but very even, no tears or holes in the dough.
Toppings: A variety of toppings should be used.
All winners of the individual categories then competed in the “Pizza Maker Of The Year” category, and Sanchez took second. So… I guess we have to take a trip to Selma, Texas now?
We checked in with The Takeout’s favorite pizza expert, Steve Dolinsky, to see how big a deal these victories are, really. Dolinsky, a longtime Chicago food reporter and the author of Pizza City, USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago Is America’s Greatest Pizza Town, told us it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The Pizza Expo is certainly legit—he’s attended himself, though he didn’t make the trip this year—but the competition isn’t always a great indicator of pizza excellence. The pizzaiolos have to transport their own ingredients to Las Vegas, where they then work in the less-than-ideal environment of a conference center. The equipment’s all different, the ingredients have made a hell of a trek, there’s a lot of chaos—in short, “it’s not really the best indicator” of what’s really excellent and what’s not, he told us.
So, grain of salt. But still, this is cool! It’s the little food truck that could. We reached out to Mia Marco’s to find out more about this officially award-winning pizza, but got no reply, presumably because it’s not a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening at the moment. We’ll update if and when we hear back. For now, we’ll just daydream about crust hydration rates.