Mile Wide Beer Co. will soon have a roommate – a roommate that makes Neapolitan-style pizza.
The brewery, which opened in 2016 at 636 Barret Ave., is teaming up with the owners of Jeffersontown restaurant Mac’s Dough House to create Mac’s at Mile Wide, serving personal-sized pizzas and sandwiches to brewery visitors.
The small kitchen will be located to the right of the brewery’s front entrance, with a countertop providing customers an ordering and pickup point for their food. It has already been equipped with a custom-tiled pizza oven from Salinas, Calif.
Tony and Megan Lusiak quietly purchased Mac’s Dough House last October – look for a new menu coming soon at the main location – and recently spent several weeks in Naples, taking classes on cooking Neapolitan pizza, which is known for having a very basic dough with no sugar or oil, plus simple, fresh ingredients.
Naturally, the couple ate plenty of pizza during their visit.
“We probably ate, I bet, five pizzas each during class,” Megan says. “And everywhere we went we got pizza.”
The oven, tiled in light blue and white to match the colors in Mile Wide’s logo, cost about $20,000, she says. It says “Mac’s” on the front above the oven door. Made from stone and concrete, it is covered in ceramic tile and weighs about 5,200 pounds. Tony says it will heat to up to 900 degrees and will cook pizzas in three minutes or less when fully heated.
The kitchen area is just 20 feet by 20 feet and will include a standing mixer and sinks. The menu hasn’t been designed yet, but it will not be extensive, Megan says – just pizzas, sandwiches and possibly roasted vegetable dishes, with everything on the menu being cooked in the oven.
The couple plans to have an electronic ordering system in which customers will get a text to their phone when their food is ready.
Tony graduated in 2000 from the Culinary Institute of America in New York and has extensive restaurant experience around town in various roles, including stints with Ruth’s Chris, Doc Crow’s and Eddie Merlot’s.
Calling it Mac’s at Mile Wide was an easy decision, Megan says. The original restaurant is named for a taxidermy jackalope that was gifted to the original owners, who named it Mac, so a second jackalope is sought as a mascot for the new location.
The Lusiaks hope to open in late June.
Scott Shreffler, a co-owner of Mile Wide, says the brewery was experiencing a “lull” most nights between 6 and 8 p.m., as people would come in during the late afternoon, and then leave to eat dinner.
“Sometimes they came back,” Shreffler says, “sometimes they didn’t.”
The new pizza offering gives them a reason to stay. Shreffler says he and his partners talked with 10 or 12 potential food vendors for the spot, which originally was a machine shop when the building was a Pillsbury factory. Originally, an extension to the taproom was planned, but adding a food option more and more became a perceived need.
“Tony and Megan came in and the partnership formed pretty quickly,” Shreffler says. “We’ve always thought this would be a great space for somebody to put a kitchen. This is a very exciting new step for us.”
“We are really excited to partner with Mile Wide,” Megan says. “We love their beer, but have always wished they had a food option available. When we found out they were looking for someone to put a kitchen into the taproom, we jumped at the opportunity.”