Local business expands to downtown


Andres Martinez

The second The Pizza Joint opens its second location at the corner of 500 N. Stanton and Franklin Ave.

Kimberly Valle , Staff Reporter

The Pizza Joint opened the doors of their second location last week, located in the downtown area on 500 N. Stanton. According to customers, this location is bigger and better than the first location.

Melissa Maese, owner of both Pizza Joint locations and a UTEP alumni, said that she wanted to be part of he change in the city due to El Paso’s recent downtown  renovations.

“I started looking. I’ve had my eye on this place for over a year,” Maese said. “Just coming downtown—we have the stadium now, the new artist housing that’s coming down, the new hotels—I just wanted to be here for when it all happens, I wanted to do it before anyone else did.”

After being inspired by the big space and long windows, Maese contacted the landowner and began talking business.

“I would say ‘Oh my God, that would be so perfect for what we do.’ It’s like getting right on the freeway,” Maese said.

Maese first started her business with her partner Janet after being laid off from her previous job. Maese’s dream was to sell pizza by the slice, and have that college town feeling, where students can go and enjoy their slice with a beer.

“I was just trying to plan for the future pretty much. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay on Mesa Street or just have another option,” Maese said.

Hillary Dudley, junior sociology major and new employee at The Pizza Joint, said she enjoys the
downtown location.

“Downtown is a little different because there is a lot more space, so you’re not working on top of each other, a lot more room for activities,” Dudley said. “I’m so happy and grateful to be apart of this company.”

The Pizza Joint is known for their fresh ingredients, creative recipes and huge slices of pizza along with their baked wings and fresh salads. Their new location downtown will feature longer hours of operation, a stage for local bands, performers and paintings from El Paso.

“We really try to feature as much of El Paso as we can,” Maese said.

Chalkboards surround the location, where people are able to write and draw on the walls. The Pizza Joint also includes fountain drinks and draft beers. Discounts for students and military are still available. For late nights, they will feature a Dutch Door, where slices of pizza will be sold through a window when the location is closed.

Since they opened their doors at the new location, Maese said she has been receiving positive feedback
from El Pasoans.

Customers have been pleased in how the new location turned out.

“This place is perfect for El Paso’s downtown,” Johnny Villalobos, sophomore history major, said. “Their customer service is great, everyone is so friendly and the pizza is delicious.”

“On opening day, we opened at 11 a.m. and we had a line out the door,” Maese said. “We got amazing feedback. This weekend has been crazy busy–better than I expected. A lot of regulars are coming by and they’re still blown away. They love it.”

Maese said the next step in her business is managing both locations’ hours and employees. She will do this by taking one step at a time in handling everything in both businesses.

“I can’t tell you how many hand shakes and hugs I got this weekend,” Maese said. “When people walk in for the first time, they’re blown away, ‘Oh my gosh, it still feels like Pizza Joint,’ it is really neat.”

The Pizza Joint’s hours of operations are Monday-Tuesday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Wednesday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Friday –Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 a.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m.-9 p.m.

For more information, call 533-4066 or visit the-pizza-joint.com.

Kimberly Valle may be reached at [email protected].