Crozet Pizza Plants Its Flag on UVa’s Corner

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Colleen and Mike Alexander
Colleen and Mike Alexander

Crozet Pizza opened a second location on Elliewood Avenue in Charlottesville in July, establishing itself on The Corner, the prime commercial spot for serving students at the University of Virginia. This will make easier for U.Va. students to get through the unofficial Wahoo bucket list, which traditionally includes eating at Crozet Pizza.

Owners Mike and Colleen Alexander—she’s the daughter of Crozet Pizza founder Bob Crum—said they looked at various locations in Charlottesville to expand the business, hoping to find a place that had the intimate nooks and homey feeling of the flagship store.

They settled on the former Buddhist Biker Bar, a 1920s-era house converted into a restaurant. “We looked around the Downtown Mall and Barracks Road, and other places too, and then we parked it,” said Mike Alexander. “Once we found this space, it felt like Crozet Pizza, like what Bob started.”

They started renovating the building a year ago. Every part was refreshed and a new kitchen and work area were installed. An outdoor patio was added.

“We basically gutted it and rebuilt it. We stripped the floors. The layout is small. It has pockets of space, quaint areas like Crozet Pizza has,” Alexander said.

They have also taken on partners, Ryan Rooney and Kevin Badke, owners of Trinity Irish Pub, also on The Corner, who will manage the bar part of the restaurant. So offering cocktails is a new twist. One built on bourbon has been named “Crozet lemonade.” The beer list stresses our favorite Crozet-area brews.

Crozet Pizza's new location on Elliewood Avenue in Charlottesville
Crozet Pizza’s new location on Elliewood Avenue in Charlottesville

“We want it to have the feel of the original. The food is the same,” Alexander said. While most of the menu offerings are identical to the original restaurant, another new item is a pizza designed for Sunday brunch, which he described as “like eating  western omelet. It’s fantastic.

“The vision for Crozet Pizza, going forward, is we want to expand,” said Alexander, who owns a painting company that has a contract to paint for the University of Virginia. “This is my career now. I’m out of construction. For me and Colleen, it’s the next chapter.”

He said they are now scouting for a location in Carytown, in Richmond, and may someday expand to other college towns such as Harrisonburg and Blacksburg.

“But we’re not a franchise,” he added. “We’re reaching out to the locals here. We want to be diverse and not just have students. We want the Charlottesville community to come here.”

The new store shows off photos from Crozet Pizza history and the story of Crozet Pizza is also told on the back of the menu. Behind the cash register is a large print of the famous shot of a bright red Crozet Pizza T-shirt being held up in outer space, apparently in the open cargo bay of the Space Shuttle—a play on the shop’s fans who would send in pictures of themselves wearing the T-shirt in exotic locations around to the world hoping to have them pinned on the world map in the side dining room—though that space shot never really happened.

And for all the continuity, there is one change: the new store is accepting credit cards, which Bob never wanted to bother with.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been to the new location- what a great ambiance ! Nicely furnished, friendly staff and you just can’t beat Crozet Pizza.

  2. I went to Crozet pizza for my 8th birthday many many years ago and loved it. We just moved back from Florida and saw all of the great reviews and decided to grab a pizza tonight. Well, we called the Crozet pizza in Crozet and I asked the girl who answered the phone if their we’re any specials, she said “um, this is Crozet pizza I think you meant to call Pizza Hut”. Needless to say because of that we decided not to go there. I’m excited to try the new location on the corner because despite what happened today we do look forward to eventually trying it again.

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