Peace A Pizza in Boca Raton might have been flying under your radar as 'just another pizza place', but if you've been in during the past few months, you'll have noticed a bit of a change: posters topped with logos like Cigar City, Dogfish Head, and Left Hand! Yes, gone are the days of funky pizza and bland beer, now craft beer has moved in.
This is all part of new owner/operator Chris Power's plan for this franchise establishment.
"It's what I'd be wanting to eat," he says of the pizza and beer combos. "People are so happy when they're eating."
Peace A Pizza is the latest South Florida establishment that is putting a lot of faith in the craft beer market.
The pizza chain, Peace A Pizza, is of Philadelphian origin. Founded in Rosemont, PA by Pete Howey and Aaron Nocks 15 years ago, they've grown into a group of eight restaurants around the Pennsylvania area - and one in Boca Raton.
Chris brings a background in fine dining and the culinary arts to the table. He attended culinary school before working gigs in Las Vegas and his native Colorado. Growing up in Denver gave him his first appreciation of the craft beer scene.
"We had great beers like Fat Tyre, and everything coming out of Flying Dog Brewing," he said. "One of my friends was related to the head brewer of Flying Dog, and that allowed us to really cut our teeth a little early on in the craft beer movement."
Moving to Florida, he worked at various places and ended up at Brown Distributing for a while. But food was always close to his heart.
"I really wanted to open a gastropub," he remarked. But nothing fell quite into place, until his commercial agent showed him the property on Yamato. "I had driven past it a thousand times, but never went in," he admitted. "But as soon as I did, I fell in love with the place... I saw so much potential."
So at the beginning of this year, Chris took over operations and began to slowly make the changes that would transform the small pizzeria into a slice of craft beer heaven.
Currently, the restaurant boasts a selection of 42 bottles and cans to choose from, most hailing from Colorado and Florida.
"I love the local beer. It's great to see these guys take it really seriously and produce top notch beer. [They're] true artisans." He wishes that he could have a draft system to carry some of the local on-draft offerings (such as Tequesta Brewing's Gnarly Barley), but certain cost and structural design limitations make it prohibitive. It's a shame, because only good things come from people who are so passionate about what they do for a living.
As for the pizza, the topping combos might have stayed the same, but the care in keeping a clean oven (no charred bits sticking to the bottom of your slice) and the quality of the ingredients seems to have improved quite a bit. Being the only location south of the Mason-Dixon line, he has license to create new and interesting combinations of toppings as needed.
"I think that's a little unique for franchises," he reveals. "They're very supportive of us down here."
The biggest draw, though, is the 'happy hour' deal that's offered everyday from 3 p.m. to close and all day Saturday and Sunday: for $5.50, you get a slice of your choice and a bottle of craft beer. Some places you can't even get a 12 oz of good beer for $5, let alone paired with food.
"We've seen a 400-500% increase in beer sales just from offering what people are looking for. I wanted to keep the pricing reasonable so people can experiment, and maybe try something new."
If for some reason that wasn't enough to draw you in, for all of you in their delivery district, how about some beer with that order? That's right, they'll deliver the beer to you when you order for delivery.
Pizza and beer has always been a dominating force to be reckoned with, and now that the craft beer revolution is upon us in a big way, it seems almost silly not to join in. The people have spoken, and they want good beer (and pizza... can we just get it delivered? Yes? Perfect).
Peace A Pizza is located at 1200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431. Call 561-998-2378.
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