Written by The Business Journal Staff
The popular pizza caterer officially changed its name last week and announced plans to open a physical restaurant space in Downtown Fresno. Located half a block away from Chukchansi Park on Tulare Street, Grizzly City Pizza plans to open its doors by early March.
The new name drew inspiration both from hip hop artist Fashawn — who often refers to Fresno as Grizzly City in his music — and the restaurant’s close proximity to the Fresno Grizzlies’ ball club.
“We had always had a lot of confusion with the pronunciation of the name Zamore, so when we opened this space, it just felt like the right time to change it,” said Sean Duquette, owner of Grizzly City Pizza.
He and his dad, Steve Duquette, entered the pizza business in 2014, opening a food truck and joining the growing mobile catering industry. The pair always planned to expand to a brick-and-mortar space, however, and began making the transition after access to local commercial kitchens dwindled.
“We wanted to expand while keeping the truck but it was getting harder to use a kitchen and meet the health codes and then we ended up having to get rid of the truck to help pay for this space,” Sean Duquette said. “We’re excited about coming Downtown though because all of our friends with the other trucks are moving down here as well.”
The 2,000-square-foot space is in the site of the old Downtown Hofbrau and will feature two floors of dining, craft beer and a full bar. Grizzly City will keep the focus on pizza, but Duquette said he also wants to add smaller Italian dishes that people can easily share while getting drinks.
“With the truck we only ever did pizza by the slice, but here the emphasis will really be on shareable or family-style dining,” he said. “We really want to just create a comfortable atmosphere and make it a welcoming spot for night-life.”
The pair already has some experience managing a restaurant — Steve Duquette owned Tower Dogs in Fresno’s Tower District for several years — and Sean Duquette said he is hopeful the business will find an eager audience.
Grizzly City Pizza will be open until at least 10 p.m. and offer delivery services to Downtown and the Tower District.
“I’m not expecting a huge dinner crowd on weekdays, but I’m sure we’ll be kept busy with deliveries to all the residents and businesses in the area,” Sean Duquette said.
News of the new business model has already spread on social media, and the restaurant is currently hosting a logo design contest to go with the name change. Top entries will eventually be shared with followers and fans for feedback and Duquette said the final winner will receive a free large pizza every week for a year.
The deadline for entry is Feb. 12.