If you’ve ever attended a concert at The Van Buren and thought, “Man, this place could totally use some pizza,” some folks must’ve been reading your mind — and they’ve granted your wish.
The folks in question are Cobra Arcade Bar co-owner Ariel Bracamonte, local restaurateur Tucker Woodbury, and local developer Chuckie Duff, the partners behind Ziggy’s Pizza, a small, New York-style slice shop located in the same building as the downtown Phoenix concert venue.
And you can get your hands on a slice right away, as Ziggy’s is open for business as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 6. The spot will be doing a soft opening over the next two weeks, with its grand opening taking place on Friday, August 16.
Bracamonte expects that the spot will be popular not just with patrons of The Van Buren, but with downtown diners with a craving for pizza.
“It's a place where people can come over before or after a show and get some pizza," Bracamonte says. “Or anyone else who wants to come in.”
They can also play some pinball and enjoy a cocktail, too. As Phoenix New Times reported in May, Ziggy’s is attached to an adjacent pinball lounge called Stardust Pinbar, which is set to open next week and will be equipped with a dozen games and a full bar. And it's only accessible via a secret door inside the pizzeria.
Both businesses are located on the west side of the enormous historic building located at Fifth Avenue and Van Buren Street that houses The Van Buren.
Ziggy’s and Stardust (which are both references to the late David Bowie and his famed alter ego) have been in the works since earlier this year after Bracamonte collaborated with Woodbury and Duff on the concept.
“Ari wanted to do a pinball place, but we felt we could do more with the space,” says Woodbury, a partner in such spots as The Vig and The Womack. “We started thinking about it and it seems like most of the pizza options in downtown Phoenix are more artisan, like POMO or Bianco. So we said, ‘Why don't we do a throwback, retro pizza place with New York slices, a bar in the back, and make it super fun?’ So we combined the two ideas.”
Woodbury says that Ziggy’s takes a grease-stained page or two from corner pizza joints that are practically everywhere in NYC. Hence its small size, sparse seating, and largely pizza-oriented menu.
“It’s super simple. The inspiration is the pizzerias that have been in Manhattan for years … just these tiny places where you can grab a slice or two,” Woodbury says. “That's going to be the experience, where you walk in and, boom, you get pizza. It’s something quick and easy for people that are coming [to] and going from The Van Buren.”
Ziggy’s pizza selections will also be fairly simple during its first few months, Woodbury says. “Just basic stuff to start, like cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, or a veggie pizza.” Slices will be $3 to $3.75, full pies will be $20 to $28, and other options (like wings, garlic knots, and loaded fries) will also be available.
Ziggy’s pizza recipes were created by NYPD Pizza co-founder Greg Ziegler, who also helped inspire the spot’s name along with Bowie. Woodbury says he and Bracamonte were a bit out of their element when it came to making pizzas.
“We only knew stuff about operating bars and arcades … none of us knew the first thing about pizza,” Woodbury says. “Greg’s doing the menu and all the doughs and all the pizza recipes for us.”
Like the pizzeria’s name, Ziggy’s menu features a music-inspired twist. Some of the full pies feature monikers inspired by rock and hip-hop, like the “So Fresh & So Clean” veggie pizza or “Pretty Fly For A White Pie.” They’ve also got a meat-covered pizza called “The Boss” that’s loaded up with pepperoni, sausage, and bacon.
“It's all meant to be fun,” Woodbury says. “We're not really taking ourselves all that seriously here.”
Bracamonte says Ziggy’s pizza selection will eventually expand to include more creative pies.
"Once our staff gets more experience, we can start having a bigger menu. And that's the goal to have all these cool pies we'll be thinking up,” he says. “My goal is to get it to where we're doing something like Bob's Burgers where we've got a slice of the week. Just some funny stuff we think up.”
In the meantime, here’s a look at Ziggy’s current menu:
Cheese – $3
Pepperoni – $3.25
Special – $3.75
Extra Toppings – $.50 per slice, $3 per pie
Anchovies, bacon, black olives, extra mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, Italian sausage, jalapeños, onions, pepperoni, pineapple, ricotta cheese, Roma tomatoes
Easy Cheesie – $20
California crushed tomatoes, Wisconsin mozzarella, and a dash of "Ziggy's Stardust."
Pretty Fly For A White Pie (white pizza) – $26
Olive oil, fresh garlic, seasoned ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Roma tomato.
The Boss (meat pizza) – $28
Tomato sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon.
So Fresh & So Clean (veggie pizza) – $28
Tomato sauce, peppers, onions, mushrooms, fresh garlic, fresh spinach.
Ziggy’s Pie (supreme pizza) – $28
Tomato sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, sweet peppers, red onion
Wings – $6 half-dozen, $12 dozen
Buffalo or Korean barbecue
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Garlic Knots – $3 half-dozen, $5 dozen
Loaded Fries – $7.50
French fries tossed with olive oil, Parmesan, and garlic and topped with jalapeños, bacon, olives, and mozzarella
Pizza Fries – $7.50
401 West Van Buren Street; 602-354-3004
Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., daily.