After a Facelift, Pizza Joint has Big Plans for ASU Students

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Shane Crowe    College Times

After closing its doors in March, a Tempe late-night staple reopened the following month under a new name, ownership and look.

Judy Krause and Nate Cruz brought Slices on Mill back to life after working with the restaurant’s previous owners for more than a decade.

“We basically ran that company for a long time,” says Cruz, who also managed the Slices Pizza at Tempe Marketplace for eight years. “The owners were kind of absentee owners, so we knew we could do it.”

Krause was introduced to Slices Pizza when it was a client of her bookkeeping service. Krause and Cruz formed an LLC three years ago in case they had the opportunity to take over the restaurant.

“We talked about it over the years,” Krause says. “We both felt that we would be able to do this and handle it because we knew the business so well.”

With the change of ownership comes an updated menu, logo and interior. The restaurant features gluten-free options, such as a cauliflower crust pizza, in addition to a myriad of traditional and experimental East Coast-style pizzas.

Slices range from $3 to $3.49 and whole pies, depending on size and the number of toppings, range from $14 to $22.50.

Cruz has started using new ingredients, which he believes, result in a better product.

“It looks better and it’s easier to eat,” Krause said of the pizza. “At some pizza places, you can’t even eat the crust. At this one you want to, it’s that good.”

As for décor, the green linoleum and yellow walls gave way to new tiling and a fresh sea blue coat of paint.

“This place hadn’t been updated in probably 15 or 20 years,” Cruz says. “It was pretty bad.”

The restaurant has also been revamped behind the counter with a newly added vegetable washing sink, a repaired oven, new plumbing and a new refrigerated prep table. The floors were redone after years of wear left holes where the kitchen staff stood.

In addition to these changes, Slices on Mill offers delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub.

“The community has been very, very receptive,” Cruz says. “We’ve maintained the same regular customers that have been coming here for years but everybody’s happy with the upgrades.”

Construction on Mill Avenue, which continues through August, has been the biggest challenge, according to the pair. However, Krause used it as an opportunity to hand out menus to the construction workers. As a result, the lunch crowd grew.

“They’re the first ones in the door,” Cruz says. “They take their lunch early so they’re waiting out there at 10:30 some days.”

Slices on Mill experienced another spike in business after joining the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The absence of students in Tempe during the summer generally slows business. Slices on Mill, however, is keeping relatively busy and has plans for a Fourth of July special and other events.

“We do have to get through summer,” Krause says. “Not being a cookie-cutter pizza place really helps,” Cruz adds.

The duo is planning to host a block party in conjunction with CASA, a neighboring bar, in celebration of the first ASU football game of the fall.

“Once school gets back in session, we’re going to jam out,” Cruz says. CT

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