The Evolution of Ian’s Pizza Madison
The evolution of Ian’s Pizza in Madison has been quite a journey, filled with lots of memories, challenges, and of course pizza! We got started back in 2001 at our Frances Street location focusing on a young, late-night customer base. We opened our second location on State Street in 2005 with a similar feel, but with a salad bar and a focus on a business crowd during the day and a slightly older audience at night. After seven years at 115 State Street, we were fortunate to find a larger space at the old Madison Children’s Museum that allowed us to expand our kitchens and offer a much larger dining area.
That’s been almost 20 years since we started in Madison, and it’s been a good fit for us: pizza by the slice in areas where foot traffic is consistently heavy from late morning until bar time. Fast forward to 2015 when we were approached by a developer looking to breathe new life into an eastside Madison landmark — Garver Feed Mill — with Ian’s Pizza Garver.
A lot of people had ideas about what to do with the building and its surrounding acreage, but it took a vision by Baum Revision to move forward. They had brought other historic factories back from disuse — Green Exchange in Chicago is one notable example — so they knew it could be done.
The 55,000+ square foot building, built in the early 1900s, was once a Madison icon. The mill was originally constructed as a sugar beet processing facility by the United States Sugar Company and was at one time the largest factory in the State of Wisconsin, operating until 1924. In 1929 James Russell Garver purchased the building and converted it into a state-of-the-art feed mill and granary. The building ran as a feed mill for 66 years until it closed in 1997. At that point, it was purchased by the City of Madison and sat vacant for almost 20 years.
Breaking Ground on Ian’s Pizza Garver
Construction began in December of 2017 so Garver could be used for its new purpose — a local food production facility where Ian’s Pizza Garver will share space with Calliope Ice Cream and other tenants like NessAlla Kombucha, Sitka Salmon Shares, Underground Catering, Kosa, Briar Loft, Surya Cafe, and Perennial-East Yoga Studio. Garver Feed Mill will be used for events, meetings, weddings, and even lodging via many ‘micro homes’ available for overnight stays.
Roll on by…
Right on the bike path and Starkweather Creek, behind Olbrich Botanical Gardens and near Olbrich Park Beach and Lake Monona, we anticipate this will be a busy spot for locals and visitors alike. During warmer weather, there’ll be plenty of outdoor seating and landscape to explore. Ian’s Pizza Garver will look familiar to long-time fans and will be serving pizza by the slice. In addition, though, we’ll also have an expanded salad bar featuring deli salads, salad wraps, and piadina wraps (think Italian Burrito!) as well as a Calliope Ice Cream scoop shop inside the restaurant. Ian’s will also be grilling pizzas out on the northern patio in the future.
In addition to being part of a very special historical building, this location also gives us a chance to expand our delivery zone into the Madison East Side and all of Monona, as well as offer a home base to our growing catering business. In the meantime, keep hitting up our State Street and France Street locations for all your pizza needs.
We are excited to start the next chapter in the Ian’s Pizza Madison journey and hope to see you there in June 2019!