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  • Writer's pictureCalla Norman

James Beard-Nominated Chef Crowdfunds His Own Neighborhood Pizzeria

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

When Neil Blazin fell in love with baking sourdough bread at home, he found a way that he could also become his own boss, and Driftwood Oven was born.

Starting as a full-service restaurant, Driftwood Oven became quickly successful as a neighborhood pizzeria, and Neil was looking for a way to expand and create a bakery space. He launched a Honeycomb campaign, raising $150,000 from 70 investors.

“We’re a community-based business, so [a Honeycomb campaign] made a lot of sense to us,” says Neil. Driftwood Oven sources from local farmers and purveyors, so it’s not far-fetched that they’d look to their neighbors to help invest in their latest growth project.

Also in the process of growing his neighborhood pizzeria, he was nominated for a James Beard award - one of the most prestigious awards for chefs in the nation! “It was a complete shock,” Neil says. “It was posted online, I had friends texting me before I even knew we were nominated.”

The restaurant industry has such a strong community, which Neil saw as an asset to his campaign. “Banks don’t look at restaurants or any sort of service as a solid bet,” he says. However, his community knows his pizza is a solid investment, they know the face behind it, and they showed how much they wanted this neighborhood pizzeria and bakery.

For now, Neil wants to get his employees comfortable in the new space, and when possible start incorporating bread and pizza-making classes, bringing the community even more into the space they have invested in.

Let your community show their amore by investing in your business with Honeycomb!

Business owners from industry newcomers to James Beard Award-nominated chefs have grown their business with the help of their neighbors by using a Honeycomb campaign! See how at

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