This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Restaurant remodeling

This morning I stopped to take some pictures through the windows of the old laundromat building by the Iroquois River on College, when a voice from across the street inquired what I was doing. It turned out to be the person who has rented the space and is converting it into an Italian restaurant. What is more, it was a person from the past. His name is Steve Marzke and he had been in one of my economics classes about thirty years ago. Until recently he had been living in the south Phillipines, but because of the religious tensions there, had decided that it was better to move back to the U.S.

After leaving Rensselaer, he had worked in and owned several restaurants, including one in Florida, so he knows the restaurant business. He said that the hardest part of the preparing a new restaurant was the demolition, the removing of all the old stuff. Putting in the new stuff is easier. You can see one of the problems they had earlier this week in the lower right of the picture. They wanted to install some drains, but that meant digging into old, very hard concrete. They needed to bring in an industrial jackhammer to get that done.

A few years ago I ate at a Fazolis, a fast-food Italian chain and have wished that Rensselaer could have a Fazolis franchise. Maybe this will be the equivalent. Steve told me the name of his restaurant, but I do not remember it except is had the words "Slice" and "Pizza." It will not have waiters or waitresses, but will be run like a fast food restaurant, and despite the word pizza in the name, it will have a menu of pasta dishes. However, we will have to wait a while. He does not plan to open until after the Little Cousin Jasper Festival in September.
I asked him if parking would be a problem. He thought it might, but said that people could park on Austin or across the street in the Donnelly lot. He said that Austin would cease to be a through street and there would be parking created for the park.

On Tuesday night I visited the Farmer's Market (I did not see anything interesting), and on the way I took a picture through the open door of the remodeling being done in preparation for the new Devon's Doghouse. The planned opening is August 3. It looks like the interior will be attractive.

Update: The name will be "A Slice of Pie Pizza."


Sheila said...

It's so great to have a source of "inside" Rensselaer information :) Thanks for blogging!

Michael J Oakes said...

Enjoyed this bit of news. Thanks for the info. Will be curious to know of the marketing strategy behind a name that throws so much light on pizza when (a) pasta is also offered and (b) Rensselaer may by over-pizza-ed already.

30-year-refugee said...

i don't remember much about it, but i remember in the 70s when pizza king was THE place for pizza. and i remember when pizza hut opened. back then it was a big deal to get a franchise in town, i'm sure. it'd be a big deal to get a PH today, too, because they don't build restaurants any more, only delivery kitchens.

Old WPUM Engineer said...

I remember walking from SJC up College Ave. to Gamby's and Pizza King for pizza. Gamby's had the thinnest, crispy crust. Pizza Hut moved in and changed all that.