Ian’s Pizza on the Hill opens where franchise bailed over Seattle’s minimum wage fears

For all the talk about Seattle’s “$15 minimum wage,” 2016 will be the first year for real action as even smaller employers will begin the climb. The business environment in the city will undoubtedly shift. On Broadway, with slices of Mac n’ Cheese pizza, a small bit of change began Tuesday with the opening of Ian’s Pizza on the Hill in the former home of a pizza franchisee who bailed on Capitol Hill vs. suffering what she said would be an even more difficult environment for her business.

CHS reported this summer on the employee-friendly, Wisconsin-based pizza chain’s decision to come to Seattle. “It feels more like the right thing to do to respect service workers and what they do,” co-owner Brandon Stottler told CHS about the new minimum wage laws in the city.

With only four shops in Wisconsin, Colorado, and, now, Seattle, the 2001-born Ian’s is a much smaller player than the Zpizza shop it replaces in the Broadway Building at Broadway and Pine. Under Seattle’s minimum wage implementation schedule, it won’t be on the hook for a $15 minimum until 2019. Zpizza franchisee Ritu Shah-Burnham told CHS in April that the city’s categorization of her business as a “schedule A” large employer was forcing her to close. The shift from the franchise business model is on full display in the building owned by Capitol Hill developer Hunters Capital. Frozen treat provider Refresh Desserts replaced a Yogurtland location in the building earlier this year.

But enough of that. Midwest transplants can look forward to reacquainting themselves with Ian’s slices — including “basic” ($3.50) and “specialty” ($4.50). By specialty, they mean, “Whoa.”“We try to get really weird with our pizza,” Stottler told us this summer. Look for Smoked Brisket and Tots or Cheesy Potato with Ranch (pictured above!). Ian’s is also planning to bring its old school salad bar concept with new school fixings and farmers market produce to Broadway. And, for those who may have experience a dry Ian’s in Wisconsin, rejoice. In Seattle, you can drink beer with your pies.

Ian’s Pizza on the Hill is located at 1620 Broadway. Hours are 11 AM to 10 PM on Sunday,s Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 AM to 2:30 AM on Thursdays through Saturdays, closed on Mondays. No delivery, yet. You can learn more at ianspizza.com.

UPDATE: In other affordable chow news, Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar is finally open after a longer than expected buildout. It joins U:Don Noodle and Rachel’s Ginger Beer among the culinary offerings in the 12th Ave Arts building.

(Image: Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar)

(Image: Pel Meni Dumpling Tzar)

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