Like so many great ideas before it, Mikey's Late Night Slice was born out of booze.

Like so many great ideas before it, Mikey's Late Night Slice was born out of booze.

"I can't say that it was like I had this great pizza recipe that I had to get to the people or anything," said owner Mike "Mikey" Sorboro. "It was literally inspired by being drunk at 2 a.m. and not having anything to eat but gyros."

Three years after the first pizza-by-the-slice business first opened in a tiny shack in the Short North, Late Night Slice has beckoned boozy patrons all over the city, from standalone shops to food trucks to - appropriately - shared spots in bars. You can even get a slice inside the Newport now. This pizza - and the accompanying signature sauces you can sloppily slather on it - are practically Columbus institutions now.

"Last year at a festival, a girl came up to me and said, 'Do you realize stealing the Slut Sauce (Late Night's most favored mystery sauce) is part of Columbus pop culture?'" Sorboro recounted with a chuckle.

Mikey is a jovial guy, and one of remarkable candor for a 31-year-old helping pilot a business through an explosion of growth in recent years. Sorboro and his business partners are planning to slow their expansion locally and focus on learning from their successes and missteps to get ready for the next step: franchising Late Night Slice within the next year.

"Slut Sauce soon will be an officially registered trademark of Late Night Slice," said Sorboro with a wicked laugh.

For all the tongue-in-cheek humor of the company known for its "Pay, Eat, Leave" slogan, Sorboro's success really did come the old-fashioned way: through hard work.

"If you work hard and you're focused, you know … stuff just starts happening," he said. "Hard work brings success. In anything, really."

Big thinker: Matthew Goldstein >>