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Flavor Fusions 

Mommiana’s Dough is bringing southern flavors to a northern staple.

click to enlarge Mommiana’s Dough Owner Ashely Ramsey and Chef Micah Crump.

Scott Elmquist

Mommiana’s Dough Owner Ashely Ramsey and Chef Micah Crump.

Besides the crust, tomato sauce is probably seen as the most fundamental ingredient required to make a pizza pie. Not to Mommiana’s Dough. This Shockoe Bottom pizza joint has a full menu of innovative flavors that never come close to including marinara.

Ashley Ramsey and Micah Crump opened Mommiana’s Dough in November 2020 — a brave move just eight months into a pandemic that upended the restaurant industry. As the co-owners of another beloved Shockoe Bottom establishment, Frozay, the duo felt comfortable expanding beyond the soul food and seafood they’re known for and into the pizza scene.

Ramsey, a New York City native, had long wanted to bring a slice of her hometown to Virginia’s capital, but she didn’t want to just recreate the pizzas of her past. “Pizza to me is a New York thing, but we wanted to put our own southern spin on it,” says Ramsey. Crump, Mommiana’s head chef, decided to impart upon the new restaurant’s pies a southern twist.

All of Mommiana’s pizzas start with a garlic butter flatbread style crust, but from there Crump’s creations go in a dozen different directions. The roasted chicken pizza alone comes in three starkly diverging variations depending on which base you choose. For a taste of Jamaica, customers can go with the sweet and spicy honey jerk sauce. Marylanders may opt for an Old Bay barbecue sauce base. Anyone hosting a game day watch party would be wise to choose the Buffalo sauce base for that wing night feel. Each version of that one pizza comes covered in Mommiana’s signature three cheese blend.

click to enlarge Mommiana’s Chesapeake Crab pizza. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Mommiana’s Chesapeake Crab pizza.

If folks want tomato sauce on their pizza, Chef Crump will accommodate them, but it’s a request Mommiana’s rarely receives thanks to extensive and eccentric menu. Ramsey’s personal favorite pie is the lobster lover pizza. With a thick and creamy spinach dip base, large chunks of lobster, and a garlic butter sauce, cheese, and Old Bay finish, what’s not to love?

The easiest way to tell Mommiana’s is the city’s only Black-owned pizzeria is Chef Crump’s seamless incorporation of soul food into slices. The southern fried fish pizza combines deep-fried pieces of whiting with a yellow corn cajun grit base and cooked peppers to give you the feel of an entire fish fry in one bite. Looking for Lowcountry flavors in one handheld slice? Don’t miss Mommiana’s crab boil pizza with all the classic fixings: potatoes, corn, shrimp, lump crab meat, and an Old Bay butter sauce.

Thanks to Crump’s past as a private party caterer which helped him build a base of loyal customers, Mommiana’s almost never has a slow night. “We definitely didn’t expect this type of turnout for our food — sometimes we have a line down the block, especially on weekends,” Ramsey adds.

The pair behind Richmond’s most creative pizzas doesn’t take the community’s support for granted either: “It’s amazing how people in this city come out and support you,” says Ramsey. “We’re always trying to step outside the box, explore new flavors, and keep people coming back to enjoy our pizzas.”

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