Opening a restaurant during a global health and economic crisis might seem daunting. Daring, even.
Brad Mire says it won’t stop Hive Pizza, his new fast-casual pizza joint, from making its footprint on Baton Rouge.
“There is no real end in sight for the pandemic, so we didn’t know what we’d be waiting [to open] for,” Mire says. “We figured we’d get open, see what we have, and go from there.”
It’s late January when we meet for our interview, and Mire is sitting in his partially constructed restaurant at 6166 Siegen Lane. Mire tells us that Hive is on track for its mid-February opening.
Right from the get-go, the Hive team hopes to build a restaurant that can thrive during—and after—the pandemic. Mire expects sales to be predominantly to-go orders until more people are comfortable dining indoors.
To help to-go orders move more smoothly, Hive will have its own app, where guests can place orders, see upcoming deals and join a rewards program. Push notifications will alert customers of specials and secret menu offerings. The restaurant is also looking into curbside pickup options, including a possible locker system that could make pick-up completely contactless.
And pizza adapts well to a take-out format, anyway.
“Pizza has done very well during COVID,” Mire says. “It’s one of those things that has not been nearly as affected as the rest of the restaurant segment has.”
Defining Hive’s concept—and what sets it apart from the many pizza restaurants in Baton Rouge—has been a big focus. Mire hopes Hive Pizza buzzes with the same energy and community spirit as a busy beehive, and design touches nod to that bee theme. Wall tiles are shaped like honeycombs, bumblebees are painted on the floor, and the tiling on the pizza oven is a golden yellow.
In addition to the build-your-own pizzas that are trending in the pizza sphere right now, Hive will have eight to 10 signature pies. Among its specialty toppings are variations of honey and hot honey for drizzling. On the secret menu, the kitchen team will play with more whimsical styles, such as pizza dough that is slathered with honey butter before it’s layered with cheese and other toppings.
All the pizzas will be made in a gas-fired oven with an infrared stone, making for a crispier crust and quicker cooking times. Thin crust pizzas should be done in two-and-a-half minutes.
Ordering and receiving pizzas faster allows diners to spend more time enjoying Hive—both the restaurant itself and the “hive” of people they’re gathered alongside.
“[We’re creating] a hive where people want to come together and be a part of what we are trying to do,” Mire says. “That is something we have been very conscious of from a design standpoint.”
Long booth tables and wood bleacher-style platform seating provides ample space for families or friends to gather—or to spread out and enjoy their quickly baked pizza safely during the pandemic. Mire says the seating arrangements create a welcoming feel that allows customers to celebrate being together.
“I think that after everything washes away with COVID,” Mire says, “it’s going to be more important than ever for people to want to be part of their community.” hivepizza.com
Coming in 2021
Lafayette fast-casual brand with build-your-own pizzas and Cajun-inspired specialty pizzas