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Pizza Champ opens Jan. 26, serving pizza, wings and salads to-go in Maplewood
MAPLEWOOD, MO.

Pizza Champ opens Jan. 26, serving pizza, wings and salads to-go in Maplewood

A favorite pandemic pivot is now a full-blown restaurant.

Pizza Champ, the pizza concept from Elmwood's Chris Kelling and Adam Altnether, is set to open in Maplewood, Missouri, on Wed., Jan. 26 at 2pm. The restaurant will open for to-go service in a joint space with Shared by Side Project Brewing at 2657 Lyle Ave. 

The pizza concept was born in July 2020 when Kelling and Altnether knew they had to make a change to their restaurant service to survive the pandemic. The pies start with a 48-hour fermented sourdough crust to create a New York-style, foldable slice. Both white and red pizzas will be on the menu, as well as a few specialty pies that are already popular with customers, such as Buffalo chicken and taco pizzas. But for now, don't expect anything too out of the ordinary. 

"It's just that continued fine-tuning of the concept," Kelling says. "Once we get open, we'll do something seasonal, whether it's monthly or quarterly, especially as we get into spring and summer. That's sort of when we'll see an evolution of the menu."

And by those warmer months, Pizza Champ will no longer be to-go only. While there is no indoor seating – the entire building is less than 1,000 square feet – a four-seasons patio will make the pizza joint and its beer counterpart a certified outdoor hangout. Expect plenty of places to sit, outdoor TVs, plants and more to make it a lively location. 

Pizza Champ's menu is rounded out with a selection of wings, fried chicken sandwiches and creative salads. To start, the team is offering a grilled broccoli Caesar with bread crumbs, shallots and dill, and in the summer, expect a grilled romaine Caesar with other possible menu expansions. For something handheld, look for the spicy chicken sandwich, made with chicken tossed in a Korean chile crisp and served with pickled gai choy (Chinese mustard greens) and a black soy aïoli, or the Chicken Parm Sando made with panko-coated chicken thighs, fresh herbs, marinara and mozzarella. 

And of course, the team couldn't forget about dessert. The kitchen includes a soft-serve machine, meaning you can expect ice cream to be served from Pizza Champ's window – especially once summer rolls around. 

"We're very excited about that," Kelling says. "Soft-serve is super easy to execute on our end as well, but it's super enjoyable, and it's always done right."

Pizza Champ is open for walk-up window and drive-thru pickup on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 8pm and Friday and Saturday from 2 to 10pm. After the first few weeks of opening, Pizza Champ will be open seven days a week, including for lunch service. Shared by Side Project Brewing is set to open at a later date. 

Pizza Champ and Shared by Side Project Brewing, 2657 Lyle Ave., Maplewood, Missouri, pizzachampstl.com

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Digital editor

Kasey Carlson is the digital editor of Feast Magazine. She loves to cook, is obsessed with plants and is on a quest to try every bao she can find.

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