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SAN DIEGO — While many businesses are shutting down during this economic downturn, a pizzeria is opening its doors for the first time in San Diego.

The idea for Pandemic Pizza started when chef Brandon Sloan and his partner Chris Gentile got furloughed from their jobs. 

“Making pizzas is one of my favorite things to do, especially in a time of uncertainty,” Sloan said. “It’s a comfort food — everybody loves pizza.”

They started selling pizzas they were making at their apartment to their neighbors and friends on Instagram.

The orders came flooding in and they started donating $1 from every pizza to a local charity at the end of the week. Their funds have gone toward hospitals and first responders.

Then, they caught the eye of RoVino The Foodery owner Tom Tarantino. He let them set up shop in his market and deli downtown at 969 Market St.

“What better chance to be able to help two young kids?” Tarantino said. “These are two very inspiring young chefs and we want to give them the opportunity to possibly open their own business without paying a high rent and maybe helping the community.”

Pandemic Pizza has since hired other furloughed cooks. Donations from sales go toward essential workers, including other chefs and servers.

They hope to continue serving pizza and donating funds during this time of need. 

“We’re trying to make the best of it, and turn this situation as positive as we can,” Sloan said.

If you’re in the area, they offer a 10% discount to essential workers.

This week, they’re donating funds to pandemic relief and disaster relief for the victims of the blast in Lebanon.