Advertisement

Iowa City’s Pizza Ranch will move to the Gateway One Plaza (Updated)

  • 501
    Shares

The current site of Iowa City’s Pizza Ranch in the Iowa City Marketplace, Monday, July 9, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann

Update: Since this story was first published, information on plans for the new location provided by Brandon Pratt has been added. Also, the anticipated opening date has been corrected.

Pizza Ranch is headed south. The buffet-style restaurant will be moving from its current location in Iowa City Marketplace (formerly known as Sycamore Mall) to Gateway One Plaza, Pizza Ranch’s corporate office confirmed to Little Village.

The restaurant will be taking over the building that was home to the nightclub Caliente.

“We’re doing an extensive remodeling of the building,” said Brandon Pratt, owner of the Iowa City Pizza Ranch. The new location is bigger than the current Pizza Ranch. The new restaurant will have 7,500 square feet of space when it opens, 1,600 of which will be dedicated to arcade games.

Illustration of the planned games area for the new Pizza Ranch location. — image courtesy of Brandon Pratt

The Iowa City Pizza Ranch franchise is one of the chain’s 200 restaurants across 13 states. The only Iowa-based pizza seller with more locations is Casey’s General Store. The first Pizza Ranch was opened by then-19-year-old Adrie Groeneweg in his northwestern Iowa hometown of Hull. According to Pizza Ranch’s site, Groeneweg opened his restaurant, using recipes developed by his mother, after growing frustrated that there was no pizza available in Hull.

During presidential primary campaign seasons, Pizza Ranch is regularly featured in national news stories about the Iowa caucuses, because its restaurants are favorite campaign stops for politicians looking to appeal to voters who identify themselves as conservative Christians.

A 2012 stop by former senator Rick Santorum at the Pizza Ranch in Boone led to what might be the chain’s most famous political moment.

“A lot of people ask about the economy and the threat of Iran and about military aid and maybe about social issues, whether it be abortion rights or something else. I don’t care about those things, I care about what you think about my damn salad,” Keith Prange, assistant manager and maker of the restaurant’s chicken salad, told the Huffington Post about Santorum’s visit.

Santorum tried the salad and liked it, so the restaurant temporarily named it after the candidate. (“A Pizza Ranch staff member said they are unsure how long the salad will keep its name if Santorum loses the nomination,” reported the Post’s Elise Foley.)

The salad story went viral, and someone even created a short-lived unofficial Twitter account for the salad.

The Santorum Salad in no longer on the Boone restaurant’s menu, but there is a Chicken Fiesta Salad. That salad is also available at the Iowa City Pizza Ranch.

This is will be the third new business in recent months for Gateway One Plaza. Last week, Hatchet Jack’s, Iowa City’s first axe-tossing bar, opened, and a Starbucks is currently under construction at the shopping center.

The new Pizza Ranch location will open this fall, according to Pratt.

The future site of Iowa City’s Pizza Ranch in the Gateway One Plaza, Monday, July 9, 2018. — photo by Zak Neumann


  • 501
    Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

Keep it free.

Voluntary contributions from readers like you help keep Little Village free. Please consider an automatic transfer of $3/month or more. Thank you!

BUY HALF-PRICE GIFT CARDS

Voting runs through Sept. 30

Little Village needs your help selecting the best of the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and the surrounding area)

A FESTIVAL EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN, DISCUSSING THE CREATIVE PROCESS, AND PRESENTING NEW WORK

OCT. 12-13, IOWA CITY

Presented by the Englert Theatre and Little Village Magazine

GET TICKETS