The Birmingham food truck scene is one of the best things our fair city has to offer. Tacos, lobster, Chicago-style sausages, shrimp and grits, Cuban fries, and dozens of other options inspired by dishes from around the world can be found hiding in gas stations, parking lots, and breweries. But the people of Birmingham have long craved something that wasn’t yet available in our beloved city - the Detroit-style pizza. George Gilliam and his wife, Christina, are here to change that with the opening of Uncle G’s Pizza.

George had some experience in the restaurant industry. His first job was at 5 Guys, and one of his more recent was managing a Virginia music venue with a bar and restaurant. However, those were just a few of the many diverse jobs he’s held in life. While he is currently attending school at UAB for social work, operating a food truck was certainly not on the top of his priority list. That was until a series of events that began with quarantining in 2020 turned things around.

George with a good doggo and the Uncle G’s food truck.

The road to pizza entrepreneurship started with personal ambitions. George had it in his mind that the ability to make a pizza as good or better than takeout would be “like a superpower for me. I could save money and have pizza whenever I wanted.” It was simply a hobby, and one he wasn’t good at in the beginning. George had experience in the kitchen, but pizza required a lot of “baking and cooking and a bunch of things all in one. I didn’t really have any dough-handling or baking skills so I was immediately just kind of stumped by the knowledge.” Instead of backing down, he obsessed over perfecting pizza and dove into a sea of Youtube videos and pizza-focused online message boards while trying out new strategies. 

It didn’t take long before George was wowing his family, friends, and neighbors with his “better than takeout” pizzas - so much so that they encouraged him to sell them. George began looking into the logistics of starting a restaurant, and after conversations with his wife decided that a food truck would be a logical next step. The couple made an Indiegogo page and started getting the word out through online channels like the r/Birmingham subreddit. The response was fast - with $12,000 being raised in a month! 

The truck order was placed in February, and George used the time until Uncle G’s June opening to spread the word and work on the menu. His Detroit-style pizzas are meant to provide simple pleasures to the tastebuds, with classic options like pepperoni joining more traditional options like the red and white pie. His goal is to take the fundamentals, put a homestyle spin on it, and serve a pizza that reminds you of your childhood. He’s been told that his doughy creations remind people of “Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas from 25 years ago”, which is the exact type of feeling he wants to bring to Birmingham bellies.

Some of the delicious slice options found in Birmingham’s newest food truck. Photos: Cru Photo.

Right now, full pizzas are ordered by appointment while slices can be ordered day of. This approach was born out of necessity during the COVID-era, but George believes food orders by appointment are here to stay as it provides new benefits to both customer and restaurant. Uncle G’s recommends following their social media accounts to keep up with the latest ordering updates! 

The journey from pizza enthusiast to food truck owner has been a quick one with lots of work and personal investment, and George is thankful for everyone who has helped along the way - starting with his wife, Christine, who is currently pregnant with the couple’s first child. “I have a super supportive wife who is just really encouraging and wants to help me, and wants to see it succeed. I don’t think I could do it without her.” Established Birmingham restaurant owners have also risen up to help their fellow entrepreneur take on the hassles of starting a food business. And of course, the pizza lovers of Birmingham who are eagerly thankful to have a new location to munch on this top-tier food. Uncle G’s is excited to return the love in the form of good cooking!