STRATFORD, Conn. — When Joel Faxon first toured the future site of his new pizzeria, he noticed a big oil spill on the floor — and it wasn’t olive oil.
“It was 10W-40,” said the Newtown resident, laughing.
Faxon and his partners in PizzaCo, which opened to much fanfare Thursday, located the new eatery in a former Stratford Avenue Shell station that, as near as they can tell, hadn’t see a customer since the mid-1980s.
A little research showed the gas station opened in 1946 as Skinny & Ted’s Garage. Then it was just Skinny’s for a while. Then it was just dark.
But Faxon and partners Jordan Bochanis and Declan Mahar saw something else in the forlorn little station, which lives on in the motor vehicle-themed decor of PizzaCo.
The restaurant kept the two garage bays and is dotted with authentic metal signs for gas and car brands. A vintage air pump and an old penny gumball machine add to the old-time ambiance.
And the location — directly across from Two Roads Brewing Company, which relies on food trucks for quick bites — was ideal.
“Jordan and Declan were thinking about this for quite a while,” said Faxon, a Newtown attorney with offices in New Haven. “It sounded like a great opportunity in this area. Good food is always needed.”
Speaking of which, all three owners — Bochanis does graphic design by day and Mahar is a passive investor — said PizzaCo is not just some run-of-the-mill delivery joint. The open kitchen is dominated by a state-of-the-art Italian-made Marra Forni oven with a rotating floor.
“The bricks in that are from the foot of Mount Vesuvius,” said Bochanis, a Weston resident.
Mahar, who hails from Fairfield, said one of the secrets to the great pies it’s putting out is a three-day proofing method the chefs use for the pizza dough.
“It’s Neapolitan with a twist,” he said.
PizzaCo offers 10 signature pies — from the Pit Stop, featuring BBQ pulled pork from Farm Boys BBQ, to the Shell Station, a New England-style white clam with bacon.
Kickin’ it old school? Try the Scamotz, a Bridgeport-style pie sporting tomato sauce, oregano, garlic and scamorza cheese. Bochanis and Mahar, who are both originally from Bridgeport, can tell you how to pronounce it.
PizzaCo also offers several salads, starters such as local burrata and baked ravioli, dessert pies and a gelato made with Two Roads Brewing “Expressway” Cold Brew Coffee Stout.
Beer, wine, cider and cocktails round out the menu, including several Two Roads varieties.
PizzaCo is at 1625 Stratford Ave. For take out, call 203-612-7520. For hours and more information, visit pizzacostratford.com .