Azzip Pizza will officially open its doors to the public on Sunday, July 14. Founder Brad Niemeier spoke with Owensboro Times during the restaurant’s soft opening on Friday, describing the story behind Azzip’s success and the decision to open the company’s first store in Owensboro.
While Azzip’s newest store, located at 3800 Frederica St., sits in the midst of construction and an otherwise vacant strip mall, Niemeier said that location was chosen for good reason.
“When this development came up, we thought this would be a great spot for us to go in. It gives us an opportunity to stand out and be something new and different for this area,” he said.
A native of Evansville, home to the first Azzip Pizza, Niemeier said he’d had his eye on Owensboro for a long time. He made the decision to open his company’s eighth restaurant based on Owensboro’s developmental growth and business-friendly community.
“We love it here,” he said. “We’ve been watching all the great stuff happening over here from Evansville. It seems great for businesses and there’s a lot of great community involvement. We love all the high schools, colleges and households around this area.”
Niemeier was young when he opened Azzip Pizza, with the first restaurant coming to fruition after he was awarded $20,000 in a business competition through the entrepreneurial department at Purdue University. That money allowed Neimeier to start up his business, opening his first store two years later in 2014.
“The idea for Azzip was something I had in college. I’d have a bunch of people from the football team over, everyone would throw in five bucks, and I’d make as many pizzas as I could with that,” he said. “I started thinking, OK, if I were to do a pizza restaurant, how could it be unique and different?’”
Featuring a variety of sauces and toppings, as well as a regular, gluten-free or low carb cauliflower crusts, customers at Azzip can build their own pizzas, prompting the company’s “Create Something Delicious” slogan. Inside the Owensboro restaurant, that slogan is framed by a wall-length mural featuring local and statewide celebrities eating pizza. The design, idea and artwork for the painting was done by local artist Aaron Kizer.
Kizer decided to include Florence Henderson, Colonel Sanders, Abraham Lincoln and Muhammad Ali in the Azzip mural.
“We gave him some freedom with it. We said, ‘This is our slogan for Azzip and we want something that ties this back to Kentucky and, if possible, Owensboro,’” Niemier said. “He came up with four unique creators and famous Kentuckians eating pizza. He is one-of-a-kind and did an awesome job.”
Azzip will open to the public at 11 a.m. on Sunday, and Niemier said eight-inch Little Zip pizzas will be free to customers all day.