‘New name, same great taste’

David Peck

The Pizza Factory and More opens with expanded menu

Just a few months after the man and wife team of Suzette Jewell and Brad Trowell took the plunge and started the Chopped Beauty Academy in Lovell, the entrepreneurial duo recently took up another challenge, purchasing the Pizza On The Run restaurant at 490 Shoshone from longtime owner Harold Kaiser of Cody and opening The Pizza Factory & More at the same location.

The deal closed
Aug. 31, and The Pizza Factory opened on Thursday, Sept. 1.

“We had heard a while back that he (Kaiser) was interested in selling. This was a good year or so ago,” Trowell said. “Then Brenda (Mattson), who is the Powell store manager but helped over here, was in here one day and Sue asked if he was still interested in selling because we’re interested in buying. She said, ‘He is, and I’ll have him call you.’ A couple days later he called Suzette and was excited to hear about it.”

“With the Food Court closing (Minchow’s), it’s made it hard for people to have a place to eat,” Jewell said. “My students had really struggled with a place to go because there’s no options, and everybody travels.”

She said they looked into doing something in their own building where Chopped is located but found it to be too costly.

“I walked in here one day and (Mattson) was working and I said I wanted to buy it,” Jewell said. “Three weeks later, we were the owners.”

While Brad and Suzette have business experience, they admit to being “completely green” when it comes to the food service industry.

“We have business management experience, but food tends to be its own animal,” Trowell said. But they had an experienced family member close at hand, son Trevor, who had experience working for Pizza On The Run. He became their day manager. Suzette’s sister Audra Jewell is assisting with both the beauty academy and the restaurant using her 30 years of business experience including working for Sears at the home office in Chicago and in Atlanta.

“We’re using her heavily with her business skills. She’s keeping us on track,” Suzette added.

Brad and Suzette have control of the building via a lease-to-own arrangement with Kaiser, and since taking over, they have re-arranged a few things, cleaned the kitchen and dining room and moved the front counter out. They hope to add a few more tables for family dining.

“We’ll paint and liven it up a little bit and make it ours,” they said together, and added Trowell, “We have a little remodeling to do, but not a whole lot.”

New menu offerings

Since taking over, the couple has advertised The Pizza Factory as “New name, new owners, same great taste.” They said the purchase came with the pizza recipes and have “tweaked a few of the recipes,” Jewell said, for instance changing the white sauce.

So far, the feedback has been positive, Jewell said, adding that customers have noted that the pizzas are like the restaurant used to make when it first opened.

“We’re making sure we follow the recipe better,” she said.

The “and more” part of the new name comes from the new restaurant’s expanded menu. Among the most popular additions are chicken wings, both boneless and bone in. Flavors include buffalo, barbecue, garlic Parmesan, teriyaki, sweet chili, Nashville hot and mango Habanero.

They’re also ordering gluten free pizza crust.

Another addition to the menu is a variety of sandwiches and wraps, with sandwiches toasted in the pizza oven on request.

Coming soon are some salad options including a taco salad and chef salad, and desserts from a dessert pizza to chocolate chip cookies.

“We’re adding things almost daily,” Jewell said.

The restaurant recently obtained a ventless fryer for French fries, cheese sticks, cheese curds, fried green beans, fried pickles and chicken strips.

The Pizza Factory offers a lunch special Monday through Friday, for instance a double slice pizza and a drink for $5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We’ve had good feedback,” Jewell said. “Yesterday (Monday), I came in here and there wasn’t even a seat available to eat lunch.”

The couple hasn’t raised any prices and has actually cut prices for some offerings.

“We’ll have a couple of pizzas that are less, nothing that’s more, but we’re going to try to do a daily special where we can discount things. Like Tuesdays we’re having a taco pizza $5 off,” Jewell said. “We’re going to be offering soup on the first of November, mostly because my mom is excited that she gets to make soup for somebody. My mom loves to make soup.

“We’ll do soup and salad or soup and a sandwich.”

Team meals

One of the things the community has missed with the closure of Minchow’s Food Court is the ability to feed teams when they come to town for a game, and The Pizza Factory has some special menus for teams in town.

“Saturday with the homecoming game we served Pinedale 28 pizzas,” Jewell said. “We’ve come up with a flier and been in contact with the Lovell athletic director (Nick DeWitt).  We’ve come up with a sandwich special and a pizza special for teams.”

The Pizza Factory is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., a change from Pizza on the Run, which was only open during the noon hour on Thursdays.

“We’ve had a lot of people excited about that,” Jewell said.

They are also pondering expanding evening hours on Fridays and Saturdays or during the summer, along with potential Sunday hours.

Although The Pizza Factory will not deliver pizza, people can call 548-2206 to order items ahead of time for pickup, and the new owners are happy to help fill a niche in the community.

“We needed a fast food option in town and a good quality option,” Trowell added. “That’s what we’re striving to do.”

“We’ve had a lot more people walk in because we have different things that are available now, and we’ve had a lot of families come in and sit,” Jewell said. “We’ve really enjoyed that. We’re anxious to get it completed and get it our own way.”

“We’ve had an open mind about changing things and doing things, and we want to make sure that, if we do it, we do it right and in a manner that will be desirable to the public,” Trowell said. “They’re our bread and butter.”

“We’re excited,” Jewell said. “Things are working out the way we want ‘em to. We’re just rolling with the punches.”