After packing up their life in California to move to Texas, the Zepeda family opened Sylvia Pizza near downtown San Marcos last October.

Today, the family-owned and -operated business continues to grow and offer a “movie scene pizzeria” atmosphere to the community.

The history

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Greg Zepeda–owner of Sylvia Pizza–said he and his wife, Maritere, moved to San Marcos during a time of change.

At the time they both had full-time jobs and were living comfortably, but their jobs weren’t meaningful, Zepeda said.

“We were really blessed and fortunate to have the jobs that we had, the house that we had, but there was just something always missing,” Zepeda said. “I was like we never had time to see each other or enjoy ourselves and then with a kid on the way I was like, ‘man, I don't want to live like this.’”

Pizza was always a staple in Zepeda house growing up and pizza-making became a real hobby for him when he'd buy frozen pizza dough from Whole Foods and later, put a pizza oven in his backyard.

At one point, he was working a pizza job and his full-time job to make sure a pizza shop was what he wanted to pursue.

“Once I passed that I was like, ‘alright it's time to go all in. It's time to really [pursue] this dream and see how far we can go,'” Zepeda said.

From the oven

Sylvia Pizza serves from scratch neo-neapolitan, or Naples-inspired, pizza with fresh ingredients and a dough that takes three days to make. Zepeda said.

“No pizzas are going to be alike as much as we try to make them look alike, they just won't,” he added. “The dough itself has a mind of its own. It takes three days to make but with the humidity here, it'll fluctuate ... It's an art and science on its own and that's why we love it because every day is changing.”

The dessert menu features soft-serve ice cream cones in flavors like churro and vanilla.

Zepeda’s brother, Adrian, and father-in-law also operate the kitchen and put in work behind the counter, experimenting with the dough and new ingredients to add to the menu. Zepeda said it's a blessing to be able to work with them.

“They keep the standard high, and it bothers them when it's not right,” Zepeda said. “To count on my team and to count on them and to know they respect the craft and keep the standard as high as possible, it's just been a blessing.”

What else?

Zepeda said they are still learning the “seasons” of San Marcos and what works for their business.

He said they'd like to host events like make-your-own-pizza nights at the restaurant and often host fundraisers for Texas State University student organizations; live music is also performed at Sylvia Pizza and the walls feature locally made art.

For now, he said they are experimenting with new flavors and ingredients to add items like a “Mexican fusion” pizza to the menu.

Zepeda said he wants Sylvia Pizza to be a place where people have fun and make memories. The fact that customers show up to spend their money at his family’s business is not taken lightly, he said.

“Every day, we're still going at it,” Zepeda said. “We do 12- to 14-hour days, our dough takes three days to make, we cut everything fresh in the morning, I'm always making dough for the next three days. So it's still a grind every single day, but that's what I love. I really feel fortunate to do that. It's the life I chose.”