Eastside BZ’s Pizza Company Near Closure, Asks for Help Via Facebook

Last year, 2016, was rough for many young Tucson restaurants, such as 4th Avenue Delicatessen. After their open letter on Facebook, they were able to gain momentum to stay open.

BZ’s Pizza Company has been open on the east side for eight years. While they don’t experience the summer and winter customer volume fluctuations like student-dense parts of town, the election cycle was rough on business, said Mike Sorell, bartender at BZ’s and son of owner Carl Sorell. The closure of the Safeway grocery store within the plaza also decreased foot traffic.

To add to the stress, the family found out Carl recently developed cancer. He still works in the kitchen and delivers food, however. Although volume is picking up now, BZ’s fell behind on rent and currently face a deadline that will determine whether or not they will be able to continue operating in May. They expressed the following on Facebook last Monday morning on April 3:

“A Call To Arms
First of all, thank you to all of our extended family who have helped make BZ’s all that it is.
It is with great sadness that I say that we may be all done at the end of this month. As many know, last year was difficult for a lot of local businesses in Tucson. We found ourselves behind on our rent, and our landlord made adjustments, kind of. Our landlord now insists payment in full of the back rent, rightfully so I might add. It is not an extreme amount of money, but it must be paid by the 30th of April. We are listening to any and all proposals. Any of you want to be a short-term partner? Maybe you just want to help, I’m here, I’d love to stay here. I have some ideas as well. Let’s talk.”

A few minutes later, BZ’s made another post in an attempt to generate immediate funds to pay the back rent:

One Plan, One Word: Subscription
How about dinner for 2 once a week for a year, up to $50. After the year is up, your subscription card becomes a 10% discount any time you come in to BZs for life.
I can make 50 0f these available for $2,000 each. It will be over kill, but we can use the instant capitol to make some improvements. We can also offer packages for less, dinner twice a month for 1k, dinner once a month for 500$.
Maybe a 50$ discount card that gets you 10% off of your bill for a year.
We can make all of the lower tier cards expire after a year, but my 2k folks will get discounts for the life of our business, and I think names on a plaque is appropriate…for all of you. I don’t think this has been done before, and when it works it will be so exciting for all of us to be partnered in the success of BZ’s Pizza Company!
Like, share, keep watching.
Once I have a group of you who want to do this, we will move forward. I will not take money unless we have the participation needed to make it work. Call 5205461402 I will take reservations for these subscriptions. Thanks all of you who have shared kind words and concern, know that we will do everything we can to keep this ship sailing.

“I don’t want donations,” Mike said. “Come in another time or two a month. Check us out, get some pizza. It’s a win-win situation.”

Interior at BZ's Pizza (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Interior at BZ’s Pizza (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although pizza’s in the name, BZ’s also gained a following for their craft beer selection with 30 taps, baked wings, and jalapeño poppers.

BZ’s also offers wine and classic cocktails such as the Corpse Reviver #2, which pair well with the occasional live jazz or comedy events.

Highlighted Pizzas:

  • BZ Special a.k.a. “Wise Guy” — Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers
  • Hammer — Pepperoni, sausage, capicola, ham, onions, bell peppers, house-made pesto marinara
  • Sicilian a.k.a. “Omerta” — Roasted chicken, roasted bell peppers, onions, pesto sauce

BZ’s Pizza Company is located at at 8838 E. Broadway Blvd and can be reached at (520) 546-1402. Keep up with BZ’s Pizza Company on Facebook. For more information, visit bzsitaliankitchen.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.