Pie in the Sky
Pizza franchise evolves into new eatery
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That’s Jason Heffern’s approach, as the owner of Line Ave. Pie & Brew Co.
When PizzaRev, a corporate chain, decided to close most – if not all – of its restaurants (including the Shreveport franchise), Heffern saw an opportunity too good to pass up.
“The concept – the style of the restaurant – is already proven,” Heffern said. “It was here four years … What I’ve seen the past few days proves that. All the faithful regulars are back. They’re happy. I’ve got people shaking my hands a hundred times a day saying, ‘Thank you for getting back open.’” A Shreveport native, Heffern has a food business background. In addition to having managed restaurants (KonTiki, El Chico) and working nine years as a salesman for a food distribution company, he is the longtime owner of Time Out Sports Bar on Mansfield Road.
“I was in here two or three times a week when it was PizzaRev,” Heffern said. “I got to know the owners. The number one question they got was ‘Why don’t you have wings? You know, pizza, wings and beer?’ At Time Out Sports Bar, we make some incredible wings. We just started talking about what kind of concept would work.”
And when PizzaRev’s doors closed, it wasn’t long before Heffern went from a former customer to Line Ave. Pie & Brew Co. owner.
“Location (6301 Line Ave.) is number one,” Heffern said about why he opened the restaurant. “The location is amazing. The staff – I kept most of the original staff – was fantastic. Knowing how they operated just by watching from when I was in here, I knew it wouldn’t be a horribly painful training process, just because they are so good at what they do.”
While Heffern doesn’t have to do much fixing, he has done – and will continue to do – some tinkering.
“We’ve added some items to the menu already,” Heffern said. “There are some specialty pizzas I added. Cheese sticks got added. We’re working on a couple of new items right now.”
How items on the menu are made is also something new.
“We have our own sauce we’re making. We’re making our own dough from scratch. We’re literally going through the process of the ingredients, instead of using a mix.”
But the next change coming may be the most significant change. At PizzaRev, you would go through an ordering line (similar to Subway), choosing the toppings for your pizza.
“That’s going away,” Heffern said. “I’m going to turn the dining room into full service with servers, so you can come in, sit down, take your time and relax, without having to go through that line and feel pressured to figure out what you want on your pizza.”
Now, you might not think of a pizza place as a brunch place. But Heffern plans to change that, also. He and his staff are testing brunch items, with plans to open early on the weekend.
“You can take pizza dough and make a variation of cinnamon rolls,” Heffern said. “We’re not going to necessarily tie everything into pizza, but I will do a ham, egg and cheese calzone. I will do a breakfast pizza of some sort. I’m working on a Cajun-style Eggs Benedict and a few other items.”
As the name indicates, there’s more to Line Ave. Pie & Brew Co. than “Pie.” (The general thinking is that pizza was first called pie when Italian immigrants arrived in the United States in the late 1800s.) The “Brew” refers to 41 beers on tap.
“We rotate through beers almost on a weekly basis,” Heffern said. “(Beer choices) will constantly change. We’re just trying to give the customer the best experience and selection that we can.”
As for those “incredible wings,” Heffern serves at Time Out? They will soon be on the Line Avenue menu.
“They are absolutely fantastic,” Heffern said. “I am extremely proud of our wings … We make all of our own sauces. Everything is made in-house. We have our own recipe for as to how we season the chicken. It’s such a proven product, I have no reason to try and alter it at all.”
Most anyone in the restaurant business will tell you it is a hard business. It’s especially hard in Shreveport-Bossier, as many restaurants have closed in recent years. But Heffern knows what it will take for Line Avenue Pie & Brew Co. to be successful.
“If we continue to give the customers what they want, and if we continue to increase their options, and we continue to deliver a great experience, I don’t think we have a recipe to fail.”
To learn more about Line Ave. Pie & Brew Co., you may go to www.facebook.com and search for Line Avenue Pie & Brew Co.