Mike Carter, 37, was in and out of prison, spending a total of 12 years for crimes including armed robbery and home invasion.
While in prison he made what he called "jailhouse pizza," improvising at times with ingredients from the prison commissary, making crust with ramen noodles and Cheez-It crackers, and using barbecue sauce and pre-cooked sausages, Sydney Page of the Washington Post writes, adding:
Today, pizza is still Carter’s specialty — but rather than improvising it in prison, he’s crafting it as the executive chef of one of Philadelphia’s most popular restaurants, Down North Pizza. The eatery only employs formerly incarcerated people, many of whom struggle to find work once they’re released.
The Detroit-style square pies at Down North Pizza have been showered with accolades, including being listed recently in The Washington Post’s Best Pizza in America and the New York Times 2021 The Restaurant List, The 50 Places in America we’re most excited about right now.