The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

57° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A saucy debate between three pizza restaurants

    Rebecca Noble

    Pieology Pizzeria district manager Paul Lakers informs customers about the menu and the options customers have to create their own pizza during the restaurant’s opening on Wednesday (left). Trace Biskin, owner of Pizza Studio and a former UA offensive lineman, makes a buffalo chicken pizza on Aug. 2 (middle). Pionic Pizza Manager Mario Menina cuts one of three pizzas for customer Matthew Grossman on Thursday (right).

    Steve Castro, Pizza Studio General Manager

    I guess I got pizza in my blood.

    Castro’s business experience has always been in the restaurant industry. He has worked at Pizza Hut for over 20 years, and recently branched off from Pizza Hut after meeting Trace Biskin, UA alumnus and owner of the Tucson’s Pizza Studio location. Castro decided to work with Biskin because Pizza Studio is “such an exciting, new concept.”

    Debbie Porter, Pieology Pizzeria Vice President of Marketing

    Proven and effective marketing strategist. — Carl Chang, CEO and Founder of Pieology Pizzeria.

    According to an article on, Porter has almost 20 years of restaurant experience. Porter has worked with Bravo Brio Restaurant Group and participated in a senior marketing position at The Veggie Grill.

    Joyce Sinclair, Partial Owner of Pionic Pizza

    Helped start the temporary tattoo industry in the country. — Scott Sinclair, Pionic Pizza employee and Sinclair’s son.Pionic Pizza is Joyce Sinclair’s first venture into the restaurant business. Joyce Sinclair previously owned Tattoo Manufacturing Inc. and was president of California Tattoos.

    What is your company’s view on freedom of pizza expression?

    Castro, Pizza Studio: We feel that everyone should have the experience of creating their pizza masterpiece. We allow a context where people can actually see their pizza being created.

    Sinclair, Pionic Pizza: We want you to be the chef; we’re just the hands. However you like your pizza, whatever you want on it, is what we want to provide for you.

    Porter, Pieology Pizzeria: In a world where customization and convenience is becoming increasingly popular in the food industry, we believe that our guests should be able to build their own unique pizza creations in less than four minutes and for an unbeatable price and value.

    How does your company respond to the war against gluten?

    Castro: We do have a gluten-free crust; that is an option that we do offer. We understand that it is becoming more necessary to take care of those special customers that cannot eat gluten, unfortunately.

    Sinclair: Well, we have gluten-free pizza! People seem to be really happy with it, because there aren’t too many options for gluten-free pizza. We also have a sign that says, “Tell us if you have any food allergies or if you’re gluten free,” because we’ll change our gloves and use different dishes to prepare your pizza.

    Porter: To accommodate guests looking for additional options, Pieology offers pizza crust made with gluten-free ingredients. However, guests with gluten sensitivities should exercise caution and judgment when ordering our gluten-free pizzas, as our kitchens are not gluten free.

    How does pizza affect public education?

    Castro: We do donate to the [UA], to certain groups like the Eller [College of Management] business school. We’re involved with all of the fraternities and sororities, and we have a fundraiser night where they get 20 percent back of whatever sales they bring in.

    Sinclair: Pionic Pizza chose to refrain from answering this question.

    Porter: Pieology is committed to giving back to the local communities our restaurants serve. Our Tucson location is the perfect example of that commitment to the local community. We have partnered with a local charity, Tu Nidito Children and Family Services, which provides emotional, social and educational support to local children and families.

    During times of campuswide cramming, how does your company participate in pie-partisan bailouts for students?

    Castro: Unfortunately, we don’t deliver to locations on campus at this point, but we are staying open until midnight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to accommodate students and their cram sessions. We have an online ordering system now, where students can order off of their smartphones. The pizza can be ready at any time they choose to come in.

    Sinclair: For one thing, our pizzas are in the oven for as little as 90 seconds. If you’re busy cramming and you don’t have much time, we can get you out of here pretty quickly. We also have ordering online, so we throw it in as soon as you come in, and you’re right out the door in no time.

    Porter: We know students. With our recent opening in Tucson, we look forward to developing programs for the Wildcats in order to provide convenient, customized pizzas without the wait, and without compromising quality and flavor. In addition, our locations provide an environment in which students can take a break from the stresses of their lives, be inspired and recharge.

    Describe how rising pizza crusts are affecting the economy.

    Castro: As far as affecting the economy, we offer 11-inch pies any way you like for $7.99. I believe it’s a great deal. Sometimes, we get people who want to share a pizza, and if you break it in half, then it’s $4 for each student to have pizza and a great experience.

    Sinclair: We put everything here at one price of $7.45. You can get a pasta, pizza or salad — and it’s a huge portion of pasta— and that’s one of the things that differentiate us from the other places. We’re the only pizzeria of the three that carries pasta.

    Porter: At Pieology Pizzeria, guests can create their own, personalized pizza pies by choosing from 30 fresh ingredients. Pieology also offers a selection of seven signature pizza recipes from the ‘Pieology Pizza Lab,’ which can also be customized upon request, at one affordable and unbeatable price of $7.95.

    What is pizza doing to limit the impact of global climate change?

    Castro: We use recycled paper to make our to-go boxes, and we try to recycle as much as we can. Right now, we also have something called our Loyalty Program. For every $20 that you spend here with Pizza Studio, we’ll donate a meal to Feeding America. That’s really taken off, and we already have about 3,000 students who have already signed up with our Loyalty Program.

    Sinclair: We roast our own chicken, and we roast our own peppers. We do that so that we’re not buying big cans of stuff and then throwing it out. We do that because we want to have fresh ingredients every day. We buy locally whenever possible.

    Porter: Pieology Pizzeria chose to refrain from answering this question.


    Follow Ian Martella on Twitter @DailyWildcat

    More to Discover
    Activate Search