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In Dining

General Manager Ryan Donovan poses with a few of his favorite slices.

In Dining

Ian's slices go from oven to your plate in just a few minutes.

In Dining

The shop, still with empty walls, opened Dec. 31 to a line outside the door.

Ian's slices its way into the East Side pizza scene


Hungry bar crawlers and lunch-seeking East Siders can rejoice: there's a new pizza place in the neighborhood, and you're gonna like it.

Ian's Pizza By The Slice, already a staple in Madison and in Chicago's Wrigleyville, neighborhood opened on New Year's Eve at 2035 E. North Ave., to a line out the door, according to General Manager Ryan Donovan.

"At 10 p.m. when we opened the door, there were like eight people standing outside," says Donovan. "Some of them knew about us from Madison."

Open from 11 a.m. to "bar time" -- that's sometime after 2:30 a.m., or whenever customers stop arriving -- Ian's serves up something different than your average slice.

A rotating menu offers lots of different choices, options like Philly Cheesesteak pizza, chicken and mashed potato pizza, or quesadilla pizza.

You can get a slice of cheese and sausage for $2.50, but all the other slices cost the same at $3.50 -- and they're way more fun.

Of course, Milwaukee -- and specifically, the East Side -- offers no shortage of well-known pizza places, some that stay open late, like Ian's neighbor, Topper's.

But at this new place, it's all about the slice.

"We're probably faster than most fast-food places," says Donovan. Pizzas are par baked, then thrown in the oven for a quick finish -- from order to eating takes but a few minutes.

Ian's was founded in 2001 by Amhurst University grad Ian Gurfield, who opened his first restaurant on Madison's North Frances Street and University Avenue.

Now, each of the four locations has its own identity, says Donovan. Madison's State Street location gets a good lunch crowd, while Chicago's is more oriented toward late-night dining.

"Here, we're hoping for both," Donovan says.

At the moment, Ian's is rather Spartan, with bare orange walls devoid of even menus, but those are coming soon.

Donovan says, this way, the customers talk to the staff, which is more than willing to explain what's up with the black bean feta avocado tomato slice or the chili cheese burrito pizza.

Additionally, Donovan says the location may soon open a salad bar -- a option recently added in Madison -- sourced with local ingredients when they're in season.

Ian's will also do delivery, but right now, Donovan is still hiring drivers and hoping to begin that phase of the business when the UW-Milwaukee semester starts in a few weeks.


Talkbacks

Mazzers | Jan. 9, 2010 at 12:52 a.m. (report)

Fix your web site, Ian. And where is the menu BTW? Sort of important when advertising a restaurant, no?

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jakkalope | Jan. 8, 2010 at 7:55 p.m. (report)

I went here today for lunch - had the buffalo chicken pizza - it was delicious! true NY style...big slices, great crust. One of the best slices I've had in the city. It had me wanting a second slice while leaving.

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ChicCritique | Jan. 8, 2010 at 3:44 p.m. (report)

I am way too excited by Ian's arrival here after being embittered by finding out they opened a Chicago location first. Too bad that sweet mac and cheesiness is too good for me to hold a grudge :)

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marley4432 | Jan. 8, 2010 at 10:36 a.m. (report)

steak and fry along with mac n cheese where better than good a great alternative to the other pizza joints.

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loader | Jan. 7, 2010 at 9:40 p.m. (report)

I am going to try it..

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