SELMA — Mia Marco’s Pizza brings dough, passion and a world title to diners, topped with a little bit of friendly workplace competition.
In early March, Derek Sanchez and Joey Hernandez — co-owners of the food truck based at 15939 Interstate 35 North — participated in the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.
Sanchez took first place in the Roman pizza category and second as Pizza Maker of the Year.
The expo is a gathering of some of the greatest pizza chefs in the world, from Italy to New York City, according to organizers. Participants’ pies are judged on everything from taste to crust.
“Joey and I win together, this is a team,” Sanchez said. “I was well-prepared and I had fun. It’s like in sports: You work your butt off, you’re sweating, you’re dying and you ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ And then, when you’re in there, it’s fun because you’re ready.”
When he’s not cooking up pizza with pizzazz, Sanchez is a physical therapist and owner of BioMotion Physical Therapy in Schertz.
His love for all things round, tossed and baked with sauce was piqued upon visiting Marfa’s Pizza Foundation, a local pizzeria, while doing contract work in Alpine.
“I drove over to Marfa to have a slice and was like, ‘How in the world is this in Marfa, Texas?’” he said. “Something about that day set off something in my heart that said, ‘Why don’t you bring this to San Antonio? You can taste the passion in this guy’s pizza.’ So, I called Joey and said, ‘Hey, let’s start working.’”
Sanchez named the food truck after his children, Mia and Marco. Sanchez believes his extensive medical background helps him craft the best pizza he can — a focus on treating patients’ needs translates into an eye for detail in the culinary world.
“When you learn how to look at evidence, it changes the way you look at facts. I love pizza and when I got into pizza, I wanted to really pick it apart,” Sanchez said. “I wanted to see if we could find evidence on how to make the greatest pizza in the world.”
Sanchez’s wife Magaly works with the duo behind the scenes managing Mia Marco’s social media and website.
“I try to be as supportive as I can. It’s been a fun adventure, one that’s definitely not over. What we really want to do is start a trend in San Antonio to say, ‘Come on, guys, let’s step it up and come compete with us for fun,” she said.
Part of the driving force behind Mia Marco’s proprietors is their competitiveness, they said.
The pair met in high school while testing their mettle against each other in football, track and field, and other sports, and ultimately bonded over pizza.
“We’re like brothers, so we’re always going to try to figure out how to do it better than the other, but its always about the bread and how can either one of us make the bread better,” Hernandez said.
Sanchez and Hernandez said they rely on the quality of their food and a strong work ethic to create memorable dishes.
“We are swinging the bat as hard as we can to make the greatest pizza we can make and we’re using all of our education, all of our research, and every bit of our knowledge to bring it here for our community,” Sanchez said.
Mia Marco’s Selma location, I-35 North and Evans Road, is open from 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus 4-8 p.m. Sunday. The food truck can also be found from 5-11 p.m. on Thursdays at Old Main Ice House at 110 N. Main St. in Cibolo.