We all need a little pizza in our lives. Some of us need a lot.
Robert Wagner, co-founder of soon-to-open Need Pizzeria in downtown Cedar Rapids, would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if he could.
"I'm a carb monger. If I don't have carbs I get headaches," he says. "Pizza is my favorite food. If it's around me, I have to eat it."
He and fellow Need owner David Stephan are busy renovating just less than 5,000 square feet of space at 207 Second Ave. SE. They hope to open their "New Haven" style pizzeria in early June.
New Haven style pizza originated in New Haven, Conn.
"It's large portion sizes with Italian roots," Wagner says. "The dough and the sauce recipes and the cheese combinations are different from New York or Chicago-style pizzas."
The pizzas have thin crust, similar to a Neopolitan-style pizza, he says.
"It's all about balance, so the emphasis is on the sauce and the crust, with balanced toppings," he adds. "It's not going to be a heavy topping pizza."
The restaurant's signature pie will be a New Haven specialty - a white clam and bacon pizza served with lemon. The eatery also will serve salads, appetizers and sandwiches, along with a full bar offering craft beer.
"We think they do a different style of pizza," he says. "In Chicago I learned that we can offer a unique product."
Need will have an area in the back of the restaurant with games like pingpong tables and possibly bags, which also will be available for parties. A second room will provide space for meetings or private parties.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner; hours have yet to be set. They may eventually offer limited delivery around the downtown area, but that's "definitely phase two," Wagner says.
First, he wants to focus on getting the sit down and take-away service right.
He and Stephan first worked together years ago at the Cedar Rapids Country Club.
Stephan, with experience in the service industry, will manage front of house operations and beers. Wagner will be in charge of the kitchen and focus on the pizza.
He learned about New Haven style pizza as the general manager of a pizzeria in Chicago. He's spent the last three years as operations manager at Backpocket Brewing in Coralville.
WHAT: Need Pizzeria
WHERE: 207 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
ANTICIPATED OPENING: Early June