Montrose's retro-styled pizzeria
Dynamic duo behind Nobie's open Montrose pizzeria with 'crushable' pies and retro video games
Montrose’s newest pizzeria has quietly opened its doors. Nonno’s Family Pizza Tavern began its soft opening this week.
Located in the former Revelry on Richmond space, Nonno’s is the latest project from Martin and Sara Stayer, the husband-and-wife duo behind 2021 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Restaurant of the Year winner Nobie’s and The Toasted Coconut, the tiki-inspired restaurant and bar that occupies the same shopping center as Nonno’s. That proximity fueled the couple’s interest in the space when Revelry closed last summer.
“It started as a joke. Like, we could do a pizza shop next door to Toasted,” Martin Stayer tells CultureMap. “Fun jokes about something next door that will never happen. When [the landlord] told us they’d have the space available, here we are now. Joke comes to life.”
The couple quickly settled on serving tavern-style pizza. It’s a thin crust pizza that’s popular in Sara’s hometown of Chicago. Instead of traditional slices, the pizza gets a square cut that turns it into smaller, almost bite-size pieces that are easy to share.
“I also think it’s a really light and crushable style of pizza that’s fun for when you’re getting together with friends,” Stayer says. “In Chicago, that’s where I fell in love with it, it’s really nice when some people want to drink and some people want to eat. Here’s a place you can do both and have a good time.”
For now, the menu includes six set pizzas, including sausage with Giardiniera, a white pie with broccoli and garlic butter, a meat lovers, and a Hawiian. Diners can also build their own from a template of three sauces, four kinds of cheese, six proteins, and nine vegetables. People can opt for classics like pepperoni and sausage or go a little farther off the beaten path with toppings such as marinated broccoli, Spam, and capicola.
“It’s easy to eat a lot of it and not fill up. It is the kid friendly pizza cause there’s no real crust on it,” Stayer adds.
The rest of the menu is pretty kid-friendly, too. It includes pizzeria classics like chicken wings and mozzarella sticks, as well as salads and a couple of entrees. Those looking for a thicker crust will find a Sicialian-style grandma pie that’s sold by-the-slice. Over time, the menu will add pastas and subs.
“All comfort-y, low brow, nothing pretentious on the menu,” Stayer says. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Just a good a version of something you’ve had before.”
Beverage option includes a wine list that’s heavy on Italian varietals, beer, and cocktails — both on draft and frozen — that are designed to be delivered quickly.
All that eating and drinking happens in a retro-inspired room that channels serious Gen-X nostalgia.The Stayers worked with local firm Gin Design Group on the interior, which includes expansive booths, Tiffany lamps sourced from a Pizza Hut, and panels along the bar that are inspired by vintage speakers.
The highlight of the interior is an arcade stocked with two classic video games from the ‘90s — Rampage and Cruis'n — as well as three pinball machines sourced from Joystix in downtown. A table top machine by the bar has been loaded with a few dozen ‘80s classics including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Galaga. In keeping with the retro theme, the machines still operate on quarters, which the restaurant will stock. Diners will be able to add a roll of quarters to their tab.
“Rampage was a great choice. It’s three player. You can work together or against each other,” Stayer notes. “Cruisin was a no-brainer. The second we walked in there our kids bolted to it.”
For now, the restaurant is open for dinner beginning at 4 pm Tuesday-Sunday. In time, the restaurant plans to add lunch service and to-go orders through a dedicated pickup window. The initial response from the restaurant’s initial services has Stayer feeling confident about Nonno’s future.
“Everyone talks about a recession. Pizza is always going to have a place,” he says. “It doesn’t matter how broke everyone is they always want pizza night. You might stop going to Nobie’s, but you probably won’t stop going to get pizza.”