Sicilian tarts with New York accents
“We’re not mall pizzas…We’re family mall pizzas.”
As Huey Lewis and the news said once, it’s trendy to be square. Come to think of it, the combination of dough, sauce, cheese and various toppings must also be trendy from time to time.
the Park Place Shopping Center has a new pizzeria that joins the group of other not-so-ordinary “mall” destinations in the building – for example, Street tacos and beer and philippines day.
In February, Square pizza opened and been slingin’ batter left and right since conception. Like every other business in its first few weeks, the pizzeria had its bumps in the road, but the co-owners, Patrick McColley and Mariano “Mario” Badalithink they are doing a great job at the mall.
“It’s been great,” McColley said. “It’s a perfect place for us to start winning Word of mouth with the foot traffic needed to get our product to market.
Sicily, New York and Tucson unite
Squared Up Pizza makes Sicilian pies, just like they do in New York, right here in Tucson. At first glance you will realize that this is not the typical round pie in town and they are in the traditional Sicilian piazza. It has a crispy crust, a thick base to keep things solid, and enough toppings to keep you coming back for more.
However, there is something special about the mix that makes the dough rise on occasion, so to speak.
It’s all in the water
“We use a Watermaker New York“Said McColley. “It’s a machine specifically designed for my main water line and turns Tucson’s water into the best drinking and cooking water. New York water is naturally filtered through the Catskill Mountains, and the levels of calcium and magnesium it contains are what make yeast respond to growth.
Therefore, with the right filtration, it creates a splendid crust and a soft middle in the bread.
“That’s why pizza and bagels are so good in New York,” McColley said. “I found the company making this machine and we worked for about four months to put it all together. Every minute and every penny was worth it. I hope others will join. We need competition.
Take a slice of the big apple
The last two years have been strange for everyone and everyone has coped with it in their own way. McColley, who was born and raised in the east side of Tucson, spent time in New York to get a feel for how “mom and pop” restaurants were coping with the pandemic.
He wanted to meet strangers and ask them what their favorite places to eat were. Coincidentally, co-owner Mariano “Mario” Badali’s pizzeria was a block away from where he was staying.
“I ended up trying the pepperoni pizza and fell in love with it,” McColley said. “I got back to Tucson and within a month I was spending the night delivering the pizzas to my door. After building a relationship with Mario, I convinced him that it would be better out west for him, and if he wanted to, I would do whatever it took to make sure the integrity of his product not be sacrificed.
So, after about 20 months of market research, lots of pizza consumption, and making connections with local suppliers and New York’s nifty WaterMaker, the duo realized a dream.
They viewed their first pizza as a science experiment. However, with the success they have had so far, they are ready to settle accounts with the competition.
Sometimes round is just as deep
I get it, maybe you don’t want a rectangular slice of pizza, do you? Fortunately, Squared Up Pizza isn’t just square pizza. They also have round options and they are working on setting up a delivery system soon.
” We are not pizza at the mall“, said McColley. “We are family pizza in a mall.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Squared Up Pizza is located at 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, follow Squared Up Pizza on Instagram or call (520) 519-2000.