This article is brought to you by JPMorgan Chase

It’s 6:30 a.m., a good five and a half hours before South Polk Pizzeria opens its doors for the daily lunch crowd.

But owner and chef Terrill Burnett is already busy at work, preparing the fermented dough that ages for hours to give it a light, crispy texture. He’s cutting all the vegetables by hand and grating up the parmesan cheese.

“Everything has to be fresh. Nothing processed,” Burnett said. “Nothing is frozen. We make our own sauces and use only top of the line products.”

Owner and Chef Terrill Burnett

That attention to detail is one reason South Polk Pizzeria has gone from being a boot-strap startup in January with no chairs and tables to a rapidly expanding business that now has 11 employees and a devoted fanbase.

“My new favorite local pizza joint. Sauce, crust, and the pepperonis are delicious,” wrote one Yelp reviewer. “Owner was super nice and conversed with everyone that came in. With the right marketing this place is going to blow up.”

To help achieve his dream of building a thriving business in Oak Cliff, Burnett turned to help from Chase. He is a participant in the Minority Entrepreneur program that helps diverse entrepreneurs manage the financial challenges of going out on their own.

“I’ve been a chef in some of the coolest restaurants in Dallas. But I didn’t have all the financial processes in place that I need,” Burnett said. “The best part is all the relationships and connections I have made – not just the numbers aspect.”

Chef Terrill Burnett, Owner of South Polk Pizzeria

“When I met Terrill, he was sleeping about three hours a night,” said Chase Small Business Consultant Sylvia Andrade. “He was trying to do everything himself. Terrill is an expert in food, and now he is learning to be an expert in the business part of owning a restaurant.”

Andrade helped Burnett manage his cash flow and connected him to accountants to help with the paperwork and with lawyers to review his contracts. She organized a networking event that introduced his pizza to more people in the community. While the group munched on pizza, Andrade coached the group of start-up owners on operations management, business development, access to capital, navigating cash flow and how to build a team of trusted advisors.

At a Small Business Week Celebration at the Chase Community Center Branch on May 1st, Chase bought and gave out 200 free pizzas to customers and visitors at the branch, which is located right across a parking lot from South Polk Pizzeria. 

Pizza from South Polk Pizzeria

“We gained A LOT of new customers that day,” Burnett said. “We were selling about 25 to 30 pizzas a day before those events. Now we’ve doubled that, easily.  We’re growing like crazy.”

Chef Terrill Burnett

In addition to supporting his business, the employees at the Chase Community Branch are working with Burnett on beginning his credit journey and working toward his goal of home ownership.

“The branch is very supportive of Terrill,” Andrade said. “When they have an event or some internal meetings, they buy their pizza from South Polk Pizzeria.”

“That’s why we are here,” Andrade added. “To help our customers and help our community.” 

South Polk Pizzeria is located at 3939 S. Polk Street. Learn more at