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We all scream for ice cream! Luckily, you can stop your gosh-darn shrieking because we now have Madison-based Calliope Ice Cream in both our Madison locations.
Calliope first came to our attention over a year ago, when it was a start-up in the basement of the Weary Traveler Freehouse on Willy Street (a favorite of many Ian’s employees when they are not eating salad, pizza, or Salad Pizza). We heard that some dude there was concocting wild ice cream creations — raisin, carmelized onion, candied tomato, and Mexican hot chocolate are just a few that we remember fondly). We started talking with him about how well his ice cream shenanigans would fit in with our pizza hijinks, and after not much thought, we decided to join forces (by now we knew his name was Jason) and take that ice cream show on the road.
It’s now a little over a year into our journey… we’ve learned some things and eaten a lot of trial ice cream (matter of fact, one thing we’ve learned is that even if an ice cream doesn’t turn out exactly like how you want it, you have no problem feeding your “seconds” to people). The best part, though, is that we now have our ice cream for sale at both Frances Street & State Street Ian’s locations. The first flavor to come down the pipeline is Graham Cracker, which sounds deceptively simple until you start eating it, and then you realize just how under-rated graham crackers are. Especially when smashed up, frozen, and mixed with cream and sugar. Mmmm. In the next month we should add to that with Hot Peanut Butter (a Sriracha/creamy peanut butter mash-up), Brandy Old Fashioned (hey, we are in Wisconsin after all), and a Lemon Lavender (citrus & floral, really refreshing on a hot day). And that’s just the beginning.
So stop by, give them a try, and let us know what you think. As always, we love to surprise you and we love your feedback!
A while back, the Workers’ Rights Center of Madison put out a JUST Dining Guide that rated downtown Madison restaurants based on working conditions instead of food quality. They based their guide on a variety of criteria, including wages, benefits, and overall working conditions. Both workers and management had a chance to take the survey and report back. We were very pleased to be included in the guide as one of the highest rated restaurants.
Eddy Cevilla, a UW student majoring in Communication Arts, recently made a video based on the JUST Dining Guide for a class, and he asked if he could talk with a some of our employees about our practices and working at Ian’s. We connected him with Staci Fritz, who started with Ian’s in 2006, and Alberto Ramirez, a longtime cook at the State Street location.
It ended up being a really fun piece, and very well done. Thanks so much Eddy, we really hope you get an A in your class!
Click here to see the JUST Dining Guide PDF.
Here’s a link to Eddy’s video.
We’d like to take just a minute to acknowledge our mothers, your mothers, mothers-to-be, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, mother figures, and working mothers (and by that we mean ALL mothers – not sure who coined the phrase “working mother”, but it’s a very silly term…think about it).
Thanks for always being there. Even if we don’t always acknowledge it, we do always appreciate it.
All of Wisconsin is impatient for spring to happen and we are no different. Last week we jumped the gun and put the patio up at Ian’s Pizza on State with the, “if you build it, they will come” mantra in mind, hoping to influence the weather.
Unfortunately it didn’t work that well – one day it was sunny but barely reached 40 degrees, and the rest of the week was just rainy (…and snowy…ack!). But we’re at it again this week; the patio is up and I’ve even seen some hardy souls bundled up on this sunny day (oh yeah, it’s all of 47 today…) out eating their lunch salad.
Rumor has it we’re in for more rain (…and snow…ack!) as we move through the week, but on this afternoon you can find the Ian’s staff taking their breaks outside, huddled over a cup of coffee, dreaming of 60 degree days. Maybe it’ll happen in May.
We got a message this morning that Midwest Living had featured us as one of the “27 Great Midwest Pizzerias” in their April issue. (Actually, a fan saw the article while waiting at the doctor’s office & took a picture of the write-up with her phone and sent it to us – thanks Susan!)
Here’s what they wrote:
Best known for a ridiculously decadent mac and cheese pizza, this local chain with strong community spirit serves reasonably priced New York-style pies. You know the kind: Huge, thin, foldable triangles weepy with cheesy toppings that slide right down your chin upon first bite. Though there are plenty of “regular” toppings like pepperoni and sausage, adventurous ’za fans will never grow bored with Ian’s legendarily wacky monthly and weekly specials. Fish Fry pizza for carry-out, anyone?
Well, thanks so much, Midwest Living! Although, just to be clear, if you get super excited for a Fish Fry slice, that was a March monthly special and you’ll have to wait until next year to see it again…
So I’ve been following the news about the New York City beverage ban. While I can see their point, I just don’t get how this is enforceable, or really, how it became a thing at all.
Anyone who is paying any attention understands that we are basically in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Most Americans have quick & easy access to a lot of cheap, tasty, unhealthy food (i.e., fast food). Add to that the fact that we’ve grown to be a nation that doesn’t drink much water. (Stat of the day: Apparently the average American drinks 45 gallons of sugary drinks each year. Whoa. That’s a ton of sugar… maybe not literally, but close enough.)
Yes, there’s a problem. But is banning the sale of any sugar-sweetened beverages over 16oz the answer? I would say not. The New York State Supreme Justice who overturned the ban called it “arbitrary and capricious” (both awesome words – way to go, Judge!) but I would add “pointless” to his vocabulary lesson. Banning something does not make it go away… never has, never will. (Historically speaking, see 1920’s Prohibition, 1980’s Nancy Reagan-based “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, etc. etc….)
There’s no quick & easy answer. Meaningful change is going to involve a many-pronged approach of educating kids and retraining everyone on what nourishment means and what our bodies actually need. That’s not something you can legislate, unless you’re looking to start writing laws on every single thing we choose to eat and drink, how we exercise, basically how we live our lives. I don’t think I want to live in that society, thanks.
Just to prove that this blog is not all meandering goofiness & made-up nonsense, we are posting our official “art show opening” press release, sent out to various news media in the Madison area. Real writing! All professional and stuff, in a way that’s clear and intelligent without questionable punctuation and endless run-on sentences. It doesn’t happen often, so enjoy…
Oh, and stop by on the evening of March 5th — talk to the artist, Liz Heller! Eat free pizza! Have a soda on us! What else do you need?
Ian’s Pizza on State to hold art exhibit opening
Madison, WI – February 22, 2013….. Ian’s Pizza on State is holding an art exhibit opening on Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00pm to celebrate the completion of Liz Heller’s Paper Cakes, a site-specific temporary installation based on the theme “Visual Music.”
Ian’s Pizza on State has dedicated one 16′x11′x3′ wall and floor space to be a rotating gallery named “The Wall at Ian’s Pizza” with the “Second Best Art Award Ever” given out to one UW Madison art student. The January 2013 scholarship – the second one given – was awarded to Liz Heller, who received a $500 scholarship and was given the chance to show her work. This installation will change in six months, with a new student chosen and a new scholarship awarded.
The artist describes the installation as, “comprising 200 sheets of handmade cotton paper pressed into a copper plated cake tin or gelatin mold and hung on The Wall in a systematically random pattern, forming a rhythm of physical volumes and voids implying various degrees of audible loudness. The cotton sheets used to make the paper, which were purchased second-hand from St. Vincent de Paul’s, determined the color of the Paper Cakes. Each individual Paper Cake is nine inches in diameter and contains seven hexagonal pyramids. Although this singular object is interesting on its own, the complex geometric pattern is further tessellated, playing on the idea of various forms of volume as an excessive set or series, the amount of space an object occupies, a mass quantity and degree of sound intensity or audibility.”
There will be pizza and soft drinks available as refreshments.
Ian’s Pizza By the Slice opened its first restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin on October 31, 2001. Known for its unusual toppings, high-quality ingredients, and late-night crowds, there are now four locations: two downtown Madison locations, and two in Milwaukee. All feature creative pizza by the slice or by the pie and salads prepped fresh every day with house-made dressings.
Liz Heller is a conceptual artist whose interests are concerned with the mass production and consumption of material objects in contemporary society. Born and raised in Miami, FL and after earning her BA in Business Administration at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, Heller has made the Midwest her home, receiving her Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Fine Art from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 and is currently a 2014 MFA Candidate at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Heller has work in the Columbia College Chicago collection and has recently participated in group shows like Carnival at the Unsmoke Artspace (Braddock, PA), The Pen and the Sword exhibition affiliated with the Eighth Annual Games and Learning Conference (Madison, WI), and Wanna Play? a national juried exhibition at The Union Street Gallery (Chicago Heights, IL). Her upcoming projects include her MA show in the 7th Floor Gallery in Madison, WI on March 8th.
It used to be that every time I ate a salad at Ian’s, I’d have to wait until a coworker finished their pizza but didn’t want the crust — so I could use that piece as my breadstick. It worked, but was obviously not optimum. I’m happy to say this is not true anymore. Behold this month’s Letter from Ian, where he talks about… BREADSTICKS!
The original Ian’s Pizza opened on October 31st, 2001. On November 1st, 2001, you began asking us to sell breadsticks. For almost 10 years I resisted the the powerful sway of the breadstick lobby. Finally, in late 2011, I caved. My capitulation, however, came with strings attached. If were going to sell breadsticks, then I insisted; 1) they must be made fresh in-house; 2) We must to develop sauces which can’t be found anywhere else; 3) we shouldn’t rush the development of a breadstick just to get them on the menu.
After spending one year conducting countless experiments and taste testings, we finally developed a breadstick we’re proud to call the Ian’s Side-stick. What makes our Side-stick special? First the dough requires an 18-24 hour production cycle involving two rises. This means our breadsticks are light and crispy. Second, our sauces rock. We are currently featuring three Side-stick sauces: Poblano Ranch, Bacon-Tomato Cheese, and Zesty Marinara. Our sauces are made in-house weekly, with awesome ingredients including Neuske’s Bacon and fresh poblano peppers.
We are excited about our new Side-sticks and hope you enjoy them as much as we have. As always, new product launches can have their hiccups. Unlike the new Boeing 787, our breadsticks won’t catch on fire, but if they do — or if they just fall short of your dining expectations — please let us know!
Where does the time go?
I feel it’s my duty to tell you all that it’s now officially the middle of August. And I don’t know about you, but I feel as though I lost a couple months somewhere this summer (truth be told, I know exactly where I lost them — hiding out in various air conditioned spots, looking to avoid yet another 100 degree day in Madison).
The students are now back, everyone downtown has done their big move for the year, Jazz at 5 has picked up where Concerts on the Square left off, and we’ve all been drinking a lot of good beer at a wide variety of festivals. So I guess it’s been summer as usual, but it sure feels like it went really, really fast.
The good news is, there’s lots more good stuff to come — Badger football is right around the corner, and we still have plenty of time to sit at the Memorial Terrace and listen to live music. And, because it’s Wisconsin, plenty more good beer to drink at a wide variety of festivals. Luckily that tends to happen year-round here.
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant (or have friends who work in restaurants, or even if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant) you won’t be surprised to learn that a lot of “artistic types” end up in food service. You may find them getting creative with the cooking or the serving or the dishwashing, but they are always there.
Ian’s Pizza is no exception; we end up with artists of all kinds in all levels of our organization. So given our leanings, is it any wonder that we’ve turned one big wall at our new location on State Street into a gallery? For real. In a somewhat uncreative – yet entirely truthful – moment, we named our gallery, “The Wall at Ian’s Pizza on State,” and every six months a UW art student will be awarded a solo show, the bragging rights to winning, “The Second Best Art Award Ever” (more zippy naming on our part, ahem…) and a nice little $500 scholarship.
Our very first winner, Helen Hawley, has been hard at work on her piece, and got a nice write-up in the local paper as well. (http://host.madison.com/entertainment/arts_and_theatre/visual/a-different-kind-of-audience-for-artwork/article_324a26a0-ac23-11e1-844d-001a4bcf887a.html).
This is not the first time we’ve employed our artist friends; if you’ve seen the bathrooms at our E. North Street Milwaukee location or noticed the custom illustrated posters around every Ian’s you know what we’re talking about. We love our artists – both behind the counter and not!