downtown eatery re-opens after revamp
I’ve always been amazed by business owners who re-launch an establishment. They have a distinct advantage and disadvantage over their contemporaries: name recognition. While name recognition can be a great thing when you want to get customers through the door, you still are serving customers who have built a paradigm in their mind about what the business “should be.”
Such is the challenge for Benny Haas, new owner of the re-launched Pizza Plus in downtown Eau Claire. Haas does have one key advantage in this instance, and that is knowledge of the downtown business market. Haas has owned the art supply store Benny HaHa’s for more than a decade.
There are a few changes immediately apparent in the new South Barstow digs. One is dropping the moniker “Bottle and Barrel” for their bar. The second is a facelift Haas gave to both the bar and dining room areas, most strikingly the emphasis on their awesome skylight.
There’s also fringe benefits like adding five additional TVs to promote eating pizza and watching The Packers. Haas even added two to the dining room, saying, “Just because you are in the dining room with the family doesn’t mean you don’t want to watch the big game.”
Though ambiance changes are only one part of re-launching a restaurant; the second is food. Haas retooled the menu to a made-from-scratch aesthetic, so customers can experience the difference, “in everything from our Italian sausage to our guacamole made table-side right in front of you.”
But arguably the best business move Haas made was to sell pizza by the slice late on weekend nights, filling a huge void for the nightlife scenesters of Eau Claire. But this is just a small slice of the new Pizza Plus pie; check it out for yourself.