Jan 19, 2024 - Food and Drink

New pizza restaurant opening in former Java Joe's

left is the exterior with a door and the right is interior

Left is the exterior of 214 4th Avenue, which will be painted to reflect its original exterior. Right is the inside. Photos: Courtesy of Maggie Gulling

The owner of Despensary is trying something totally new — opening a pizza restaurant.

Driving the news: JC Cirese, a self-professed pizza "fanatic," is opening "Zazas" in the former Java Joe's location along 4th Avenue downtown.

How it started: While working on opening Despensary downtown in 2017, Cirese would stop by Java Joe's and admire its old-school exterior and brick interior.

  • "It was just beautiful," Cirese tells Axios. "I just fell in love with it."

State of play: Cirese wants to help revitalize 4th Avenue by bringing back the aesthetic charm of Java Joe's while also modernizing the shop's event space.

Zoom in: Zazas menu will feature "gourmet" pizza with locally-sourced, organic ingredients, he says.

  • While the main menu and late-night dining will focus on pizza, he also plans on opening for breakfast and coffee.
  • Plus: Expect them at the farmers' market.

The intrigue: This will be completely separate from Despensary, Cirese says, so don't expect him to sell gummies at the new restaurant.

What they're saying: While Fong's Pizza is just across the street, Cirese says Zazas will have a different take.

  • "There's plenty of slices for everybody."

What's next: He anticipates an April opening.

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