Pizza Tree back in business, to offer full service in October

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 7:53 p.m. CDT
A decal advertising the soon-to-be-opened Pizza Tree restaurant is displayed Wednesday on the front door of 909 Cherry St.

COLUMBIA — A pizzeria known for its rectangular and specialty pies will reopen in October after an eight-month hiatus.

Owner John Gilbreth said Pizza Tree will be back in business at 909 Cherry St. in downtown Columbia in just a few months. Pizza Tree first served customers in January 2013 at Mojo’s, a live music venue at 1013 Park Ave. The pizzeria temporarily closed after a year of operation because Gilbreth wanted to set up shop in his own location.

“We closed, tied up loose ends at Mojo’s,” Gilbreth said. His team then scouted several places before finally settling on the 1,000-square-foot area where Brooklyn Pizzeria used to be, near the corner of Ninth and Cherry streets.

Yula Brusova walks by 909 Cherry St., the future location of Pizza Tree, on Wednesday. Another pizza joint, Brooklyn Pizzeria, used to operate at the location. (Photo: TJ Thomson | Missourian)

“The location can’t be beat. It’s a busy intersection. We’ve got great neighbors,” Gilbreth said.

Gilbreth said he chose the place because it’s already set up as a pizzeria. From a small kitchen at Mojo’s, Pizza Tree will now have enough space to seat approximately 41 people and will also offer delivery service. Gilbreth said he is looking to hire 20 employees.

Gilbreth, who has 12 years experience in the pizza business, said figuring out how to use the new space proved to be challenging.

“We needed to adapt our recipes and processes with the new space. It’s not impossible, and we are figuring it out,” he said.

Customers can expect new options on Pizza Tree’s menu, including 18-inch round pizzas and specialty pizzas served by the slice. Pizza Tree will also expand its build-your-own pizza selection.

“It’s not entirely new, but it’ll be easier for customers to choose their own toppings,” Gilbreth said.

Pizza Tree will now serve drinks, too, such as beer, wine and soft drinks.

“We just need to decorate the place, design the work flow, and hire and train the staff while maintaining the quality and integrity of our product,” Gilbreth said.

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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