All-Purpose Pizza, a neighborhood staple in the Jackson Commons building for seven years, closed last fall. But now a trio of new owners are breathing new life—and new pizza—into the former auto body shop at 29th and Jackson. Oh, and there will totally be a bar in the space that once housed a kids play area, a most enjoyable irony.
Eric Ellsworth bartends at the Alexis and at Belltown Pizza. That's where he worked with Ellie Rose. He and Steve Scalfati have been friends for ages. Rose and Scalfati are a couple. Got all that? What you really need to know is that these three are busy painting, reconfiguring the counter and ovens, adding booth seating, and generally transforming the space into Central Pizza, which will open this summer.
Pizza chef Mike Eagan—also an alum of Belltown Pizza—is loathe to describe his pies as New York–style, but you can expect thin crusts and pizza by the slice. Meats will be locally sourced, sausage and salad dressings made in house, and Scalfati promises a “killer red sauce” and to spend his Sundays prepping specials like meatballs and lasagna. Sandwiches sound eclectic—Asian pulled pork with a sweet ginger barbecue sauce, or a butter chicken curry, as well as grinders and such. Delivery is part of the long-term plan, but Rose, Ellswoth, and Scalfati want to get up and running before they even think about that.
According to Rose, the partners have spent a few years looking for an ideal location and didn’t want to pay the high rents that come with heavily trafficked locations like the Pike/Pine corridor. They also didn’t want to charge the sort of prices required to pay those rents. She also noticed that this pocket of the Central District (okay, technically by our internal map a few blocks into the Leschi neighborhood) lacks “a place for the neighborhood where people can actually meet each other.” The nearby Starbucks at 23rd and Jackson is always packed, she says, and here “you can have a cocktail instead of a mocha.”
Central Pizza’s new 11-seat bar will pour straightforward cocktails and beer and wine at a “decent price point.” There’s talk of serving beer from down-the-street neighbor Standard Brewing—though right now owner Justin Gerardy sells out of his brews about 10 seconds after he opens the doors—and using his ginger beer to make cocktails. A TV will be partial to sporting events and Central Pizza will open early for World Cup games.
Stay tuned for more specifics once these guys get closer to opening. But as someone who lives within walking distance, let me extend a hearty thank you for another destination in the neighborhood.