Partners hope thin is a win for new pizza shop
Marion’s newest pizza shop owners don’t consider other pizza places to be competition.
Business partners Kyla Norman and Diane Stubblefield opened WarBird Pizza across the street from Central Park at the start of the month, offering stone-fired pizza and ice cream.
“We love pizza, and we wanted to offer something that’s a little bit different,” Norman said. “We don’t consider ourselves competitors for Gambino’s or Casey’s. We love Gambino’s and Casey’s too, but we also like a really thin, crispy crust, which is just a different product.”
The difference in product starts with the crust. Norman said WarBird Pizza has a thin, crispy crust cooked in a stone oven to give it a roasted taste. Other differences center on choices customers have.
“We have sauces that other folks don’t have,” she said. “Spicy ranch, you don’t see that everywhere. A lot of people don’t eat red meat, so we like to have some options with chicken as well. We have some variety, and we want people to have fun and have choices.”
The pizza partners have diverse backgrounds that include restaurant and bar experience. But their decision to open a pizza place came from a love of pizza and being hungry, Norman said.
“Hunger will definitely spark the imagination,” she said. “What do we have, what do we do? Let’s make pizza.”
Their most popular pizzas so far have been the Left Turn, a meat-lovers, and the Hombre, a taco pizza. Norman’s favorite is the WarBird, a mix of chicken, banana peppers, and red onion on barbecue sauce.
As for the WarBird Pizza name, Norman said there are many origin stories, and almost all of them are true. There’s Stubblefield’s family’s military history, inside jokes, and a ’70s postal Jeep, among others.
The building housing the restaurant has a diverse history of businesses. It used to be a doctor’s office, then a gift shop, and most recently an ice cream and novelty shop for alpaca ranchers.
Situated in an old house, WarBird Pizza makes for a different setting than most restaurants.
“It’s comfortable,” Norman said. “It’s like being at home but working at the same time. We really like feeding people, so feeding somebody in a house environment, it’s almost like having friends over.”
The zoning is residential and commercial, even though no one lives in the house.
“It’s just a house with a pizza joint in it, and an ice cream shop,” Norman said.
WarBird Pizza also makes to-go orders for people who would prefer to eat in their own home. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. It is closed Monday and Tuesday.
Norman said she has learned to listen to all customer feedback — positive and constructive — and that WarBird Pizza is perfect for a filling, yet light, lunch.
“They like that it’s not a really heavy pizza,” she said. “You can have a light lunch and leave full, but not stuffed to the gills.
“We also learned that this is a really friendly town. We’ve learned a lot of faces and names and we know when some people walk in what they want already.”
Last modified Sept. 20, 2017