Piezano’s is on most diners' short list for the best pizza in Lincoln. So when the longtime pizzeria was sold in May, the new owners knew not to mess with a good thing.
The specialty pepperoni cream cheese pizza, the signature Caesar’s Pie and the creamy cheesecake with the graham cracker crust remain just the same.
“We made zero changes to the recipes and zero changes to the pizza,” co-owner Colby Honke said. “About the only change we did make was going from Pepsi to Coke.”
The new owners also tinkered with the hours, increased the alcohol selection and added Piezano’s Sticks permanently to the menu.
The lunch buffet ($6.99) runs daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It used to be available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. Piezano’s now has three beers on tap, six in bottles and five different kinds of house wine to complement food choices. And the cheesy Piezano’s Sticks, formerly available as part of the buffet, are a regular menu item, costing $6.99 or $7.99 for bacon sticks.
Honke and friends Ryan Riley and Matthew Quintero bought Piezano’s on May 12 from Greg Friesen, who had the store since 2006. The late Dick and Diane Burner originally opened the popular pizzeria at 2740 South St. in 1982.
Honke, Riley and Quintero became friends as fraternity brothers at Phi Kappa Theta fraternity at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the late 2000s. Quintero is the face of Piezano’s, working as the store’s general manager.
Honke said he and Riley were looking for a business opportunity, and “it didn’t have to be a restaurant.”
But when Piezano’s became available, they didn’t hesitate and brought in Quintero, who had a food service background.
“It’s so much easier (to purchase) something with a Lincoln tradition instead of starting from scratch,” Honke said.
It also helped that much of staff remained on board.
“The guy who made the dough for your pizza on May 11 is still the same guy today,” Honke said.
Piezano’s features specialty pizzas — pepperoni cream cheese, chicken tuscany, potato, etc. — made on medium, Sicilian thick-style or Neapolitan thin-style crusts. Diners also can build their own from a choice of 22 different toppings. Prices start at $7.99 for a one-topping 8-inch pizza. Pies also are available at 10, 12 and 16 inches.
The neighborhood restaurant also sells pasta, including the signature Caesar Pie ($8.95 single, $15.99 family), a baked spaghetti dish with hamburger, sausage, peppers, onions, marinara and lots and lots of cheese, sandwiches, salads and calzones, which Piezano’s call “calzanos.” The calzanos ($8.99) are hand-prepared to order and, well, huge. My wife ate just half of her mushroom, sausage and artichoke calzona before getting full.
The new owners also kept the dining room place in place, which has its own certain charm. The old black-and-white photos are still there as well as the giant light above the middle of the room bearing the Piezano’s logo.
And, yes, the all-you-can-eat spaghetti night is still intact. It runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays, with a choice of noodles and red or white sauces. It costs $6.99.