Tom Edwards and his mobile wood-fired pizza oven. | Courtesy of Louismill
When Tom Edwards asks people if they’ve visited his cafe and pizzeria MozzaPi before, many (including this reporter) respond with “I don’t get outside the Watterson much.”
“I hear that quite a bit,” Edwards told Insider Louisville, which is a big reason he’s making plans to expand the restaurant beyond its original location on La Grange Road in Anchorage.
MozzaPi plans to bring its pastries, coffee and pizzas to Distillery Commons in the Irish Hill neighborhood.
Edwards filed plans with Louisville Metro Planning & Design Services Monday to seek approval for a 1,050-square-foot addition to Building 500 at Distillery Commons, located at the corner of Payne Street and Lexington Road. The addition would allow it to operate a restaurant with outdoor dining in the building, something Distillery Commons owner Ray Schuhmann has been seeking for more than a year.
A location to the east of downtown also is something that Edwards has been seeking for a while. “I am particular,” he said.
At one point, MozzaPi was supposed to open in the Highlands, but plans fell through, and several years later, the pizza and pastry cafe finally opened in Anchorage. MozzaPi uses grains milled at well-known local business Louismill, which Edwards also owns; it also roasts its own coffee beans.
Edwards told Insider that he settled on a second store at Distillery Commons because of its location — easy access from downtown and Interstate 64, as well as proximity to businesses located in Distillery Commons and the 300 apartments across the street — and its interior, lots of brick and big steel beams.
MozzaPi is located at 12102 La Grange Road. | Courtesy of MozzaPi’s Facebook page
“It’s got great bones,” he said. “It’s very similar to the style we” have in Anchorage.
Another reason for expanding, Edwards said, is to provide new opportunities to its employees.
“With one location — you might as well call it kind of a ma-and-pa location — there is limited upward mobility for staff,” he said. “To have some upward mobility and be able to create a living wage for people, that really just requires a larger infrastructure.”
Edwards noted that, like many other restaurants, he struggles to find employees, which is why the Anchorage location only operates from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Despite that, he said, business is “great” at MozzaPi.
Although plans are moving forward for a MozzaPi in Irish Hill, Edwards said it will likely be a year and a half to two years before it opens, which he admits “sounds like a long time to wait for pizza.”
However, plans for the restaurant must go through the city approval process, which takes several months, and renovations will inevitably bring surprises, he said.
MozzaPi, Edwards hopes, will enhance the neighborhood.
“We are a social gathering place. I believe it helps neighborhoods. It creates a standard of living,” Edwards said.
By CAITLIN BOWLING | June 26, 2018 CAITLINBOWLINGFACEBOOKCAITLIN.BOWLING@INSIDERLOUISVILLE.COM