The smell of pizza has returned to the corner of Willamette and Broadway.
Months after Portland-based pizza chain Sizzle Pie vacated its downtown location, Slice Pizzeria has taken its place in the heart of Eugene’s downtown. One of the pizza joint’s owners, Josh Rodriguez, tells Eugene Weekly that he’s moving into the spot in hopes of making downtown Eugene more family friendly.
“The Kesey Square area seems like a potentially beautiful place that could be fun and vibrant,” Rodriguez says.
Slice Pizzeria and Bar in the Whiteaker neighborhood is known for hosting karaoke, stand up comedy events and live music. The downtown location won’t match the Whiteaker’s marquee events, but Rodriguez says he’s looking to bring in arcade games. The location already has a Jurassic Park-related game, and he says working with the owner of the now-closed Game Pub to bring in pinball and MarioKart.
Rodriguez says he hopes to have a corner of the restaurant be a kid’s spot, somewhere where they can sing karaoke during the day on Saturdays. “You can have a parent as a back-up singer, but it’s mainly for kids 16 and under,” he says. “Because you have Saturday Market where people are already downtown with their families. I’m just trying to claim back the corner for the people who actually care about the community.”
Rodriguez and the other Slice co-owner, Travis Holiday, also own John Henry’s, which is on Willamette down the street from the pizza joint’s new location. One hope that Rodriguez has for the downtown restaurant is to have patrons at John Henry’s order pizza from Slice and have it delivered.
The downtown Slice pizza joint is going to have six different types of pizza available by the slice everyday, including one vegan. Rodriguez says the restaurant is working on making a Detroit style pizza available every day, either by the slice or the whole pie, and it’ll have his signature chicken pot pie pizza.
Rodriguez says the cost of rent — including city fees and insurance — is about $7,000 per month. But Slice is going to move to an online ordering system with about 20 percent of sales generated from Slice Pizzeria and Bar in the Whiteaker going toward the downtown location fees.
When Sizzle Pie decided to abruptly pull out of the downtown location, the company’s co-founder Matt Jacobson told EW that the lease had been expensive and had lost money for years, losing around $100,000 in 2022 alone.
But Rodriguez says that in Sizzle Pie’s heyday, it pulled in about $3.4 million a year and at the low end about $1.7 million. “If we can get anywhere near that number, we’ll be happy as hell, or even half of that,” he says.
Slice Pizzeria is at 910 Willamette Street and is open 11 am to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am Friday and Saturday. For more information about the menu, visit SlicePizzeriaandBar.com.