Tripping Billy Pizza Partnerships Elevate ‘Za for a Cause

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Home cook, baker and pizza maker Billy Zureikat (@therealbillyz) is here to share his story of how a life-changing diagnosis and love for pizza making turned into a movement.

After a diagnosis of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy that affects the legs, at the age of 38, Zureikat lost the ability to do something he loved: play sports. In need of something to keep himself busy, he turned to the kitchen.

Zureikat preparing his Tripping Billy collaboration pizza with Paulie Gee’s Logan Square on WGN TV in 10×14 Detroit Style Pan

“I needed something new,” he said. “I had always loved cooking to the point where I didn’t need recipes anymore. I needed a distraction, and I always wanted to be a baker, specializing in bread and pizza.”

A Chicago native, Zureikat started his pizza journey by collaborating with Logan Square’s Paulie

Gee’s (@pauliegeeslogansquare) on Tripping Billy, a Detroit-style pizza made with a shishito pepper cream sauce, corn, pickled jalapenos, cheddar, mozzarella, scallions and roasted shishito peppers baked in LloydPans’ Detroit-Style Pizza Pan.

The Tripping Billy pizza with Paulie Gee’s Logan Square, baked in a 10×14 Detroit Style Pan.

“I named it the Tripping Billy because I trip or fall a lot. I tried to give the name some power,” Zureikat said. “It’s a very heavy pizza, but it worked.”

Tripping Billy made its debut at the Slice Out Hunger event, where Zureikat tried it out for the first time in a commercial kitchen and not at home. The balanced taste of the vegetarian pie was a hit, and it was the only pizza that sold out at the event. Paulie Gee’s asked him to include Tripping Billy on the menu as a special and showed him how to bake it with LloydPans. 

Every sale of Tripping Billy gives $2 back to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (@mdaorg), and Zureikat’s own pizza fundraisers are booming. He sold 150 pizzas in November alone and raised over $8,000 for the MDA since then. Now, Tripping Billy and version 2.0 (a different iteration with no corn and Sicilian-style) is traveling through the Chicago 22 Tour, making stops @nachosandlager, @tabledonkeystick, @piecechicago, @coalfirechicago, @zazaspizza — and more locations are being added. 

“I saw an opportunity, and this is my chance. I never cared about a social media following before, but now there’s a cause,” Zureikat said. “My voice has power; the Muscular Dystrophy Association, who didn’t know me at all, all of a sudden they’re tagging me. Without that pizza, this wouldn’t be a thing. You can still reinvent yourself and do great things — even creating pizza for a cause.”

Zureikat in the Paulie Gee’s Logan Square kitchen during the Slice of Summer Charity event featuring his Tripping Billy pizza baked in a 10x14 Detroit style pan

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