The quiet romantic in us all yearns for those three magical words: Pizza and beer. And The Pizza Patio, the Southside’s newest addition to its burgeoning resurgence, promises just that.
“If you’re a student, a local, a tourist or just want to use our Wi-Fi, we really just want to be a place to come and hang out, eat good food and drink good beer,” says owner Steven Grubart.
As a Chicago native, pizza comes naturally to Grubart, and when he realized there were few options in Flagstaff to get a true, authentic deep dish pizza, he tried his own. From there, he and head chef Scott Gunty developed more recipes. From Chicago deep dish and traditional New York style pizzas to vegan-friendly options featuring plant-based cheeses and meats, The Pizza Patio prides itself on serving food that’s right for whatever palette.
“I’m a ‘foodie’ not so much a chef,” says Grubart with a laugh. “So while I’m working on vegetarian and vegan stuff [Gunty] is working on new ideas for traditional pizzas, but you know, for whatever lifestyle you choose, our goal is to make the best food using the best, freshest ingredients.”
On most days, The Pizza Patio doesn’t open until 4:00 p.m., but it stays open all night, serving as one of Flagstaff’s only late-night eateries with vegetarian and vegan options.
“I think people are getting more conscious about what they’re eating and what they’re putting into their bodies, and sometimes, late at night, those options are gone. So we’re here to provide people with that late-night option,” says Grubart.
Pizza by itself is a wonder. But pizza and beer is even better, and The Pizza Patio is northern Arizona’s first operating self-serve beer station, offering Arizona brews such as Mother Road’s Tower Station and Four Peaks’ Kiltlifter as well as Bud Light and Coors. By removing the bartender, you pay for what you pour by the ounce, with prices varying depending on the beer. The idea here is to allow consumers to drink as little or as much as they want of a particular beer. Stick with one and perfect your pour or try them all.
“It’s just sometimes I’ll go to a bar, pay for a 16 ounce beer and get 12 with about an inch and a half head on it,” says Grubart. “Here you pay for the beer not the head.”
The Pizza Patio has come a long way. After Greek Islands closed, the building remained decrepit, with sinking roofs and floors. After months of clean up and serious remodeling, The Pizza Patio stands on Phoenix Avenue, freshly painted and ready for business. The inside is decorated with a red copper paint and memorabilia from back east such as a signed Chicago Cubs jersey from shortstop Ernie Banks. Outside, the patio works its charm with a gas fire pit and bulbous porch lights making it feel like a calm evening in your backyard. Since its soft opening at the beginning of the month, The Pizza Patio has seen a steady stream of hungry patrons excited to try a new slice of Flagstaff. As the grand opening date moves closer and closer, Grubart and his team look forward to the triumphs and challenges of their new enterprise.
“There’s a quote by Daniel Burnham that used to hang on our wall [in Chicago] that goes, ‘Make no little plans.’ And really that’s what it’s all about. I know this is a big step, but I’m excited to see where this goes,” says Grubart.
Stop by The Pizza Patio, 109 E. Phoenix Ave., for their grand opening on Friday, Sept. 22.