Dining With Denise Neil

His first restaurant burned down, but a year later, he’s starting over – with pizza

Almost a year ago, longtime restaurant worker Joseph Fowler and his wife, Jacqueline, opened their first restaurant – Iron Wagon Tex-Mex BBQ at 233 Main in Haysville.

But it was short-lived. After just three months in business, the restaurant caught fire and burned.

“The smoker got away from me one day,” Joseph said.

The couple had let their insurance lapse while getting the restaurant going, so they weren’t ever able to reopen it. But now, they’ve found a new opportunity one town over.

The Fowlers are planning to open their new Electric Pizzeria in Derby at 11 a.m. today. The business is taking over the space at 236 W. Greenway that Wheat State Pizza vacated in 2013. For now, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and will focus on both more basic, fast-style pizzas as well as more intricate, gourmet pies.

Joseph said he found the Wheat State building about seven months ago and decided it would be ideal. But because the restaurant doesn’t have a grease trap, he couldn’t open another barbecue place, he said. Pizza was the best option.

Luckily, he said, he had experience. In his younger days, Joseph worked at both Godfather’s and Pizza Hut.

Fowler said his customers will have a choice of hand-tossed, thick pan, or ultra thin crust. A gluten-free crust also will be available.

The “Lightning” side of the menu will have lower-cost pizzas with fewer toppings, similar to fast-food style pizzas. The “Haywire” side of the menu will have more toppings and more creative combinations. One pizza on the menu is topped with smoked salmon and cream-cheese, or there’s an even more upscale version topped with caviar and balsamic drizzle.

The restaurant will also sell 24-inch and 28-inch party pizzas, and fresh-made sub sandwiches also will be on the menu.

Electric Pizza will deliver, and Joseph said he’s trying to hire more delivery drivers now, and once he does, he’ll likely extend the hours.

He also hopes to have his liquor license soon.

There’s seating fro about 70 in the restaurant, Joseph said, and the menu will be available to-go as well.

Joseph said he thinks his concept will work in Derby.

“I think there’s plenty of good, low-cost pizza options here, but not anything outside the box,” he said. “We’re trying to do something new.”

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