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Startups Investing in Southside

On a cramped corner just south of the tracks, Phoenix Ave. and Mikes Pike to be exact, sits a large brick industrial building. The Milum Building, once home to a textile mill, now has three new budding businesses, continuing the trend of redevelopment for Flagstaff’s Southside.

“We wanted to be in Southside from the earliest days of planning the brewery,” said Michael Marquess, chief beer officer of Mother Road Brewing Company, one of the three business owners in the building. “Southside has appeal and still maintains its grittiness and character. The Southside has a vitality that is not found elsewhere in Flagstaff and is evident by the many new businesses starting up and joining the established ones.”

The first of the three tenants to set up shop in the Milum Building was CJ Constantopoulos, owner of Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution and the one whom Marquess credits with creating the customer service-oriented vibe of the building.

Next came Mother Road Brewery, a microbrewery that produces small batch craft beer for wholesale distribution. The three main beers produced, Gold Road, Twin Arrows and Jackrabbit, pay homage to a specific location along Route 66. Both Marquess and his business partner, Urs Riner, say brewing beer takes commitment and the blending of science and art with a touch of creativity is essential to concocting the “perfect brew.”

The last of the three businesses to open is Pizzicletta, a Neapolitan pizzeria unlike any Flagstaff has seen, according to owner Caleb Schiff. The name of the restaurant was something Schiff derived from his love of bikes, pizza and Italy. So he combined the word pizza with the Italian word for bicycle, bicicletta, and Pizzicletta was born.

“The whole origin of the restaurant comes from my own travels on my bike through north-central Italy where I discovered this kind of pizza,” said Schiff.

It was on these travels Schiff was introduced to the traditional wood-fired ovens Italians have used for centuries to make their world-famous pies. Schiff was so impressed with the cuisine and old-world baking method that he spent months constructing a wood-fire brick oven in his own backyard here in Flagstaff.

It is this commitment and passion to making pizza that Schiff is confident will make his restaurant a success and set him apart from the other pizza places in town.

“What the baker has always kind of been in Italy is someone who unites their community and makes something unique. That’s what I want to do,” said Schiff. “The restaurant is about great food as well as entertainment. It’s really fun to see your pizza baked in 90 seconds and it all taking place in a communal atmosphere.”

The pizzeria is set to open in late June and will feature eight specialty pies, salads and a single gelato Schiff mastered during his time in Italy.

“In summary, we like the funky feel and diversity of Southside. With a long-term lease, we intend to be here for many years to come,” said Marquess. As for Schiff, he, too, says he intends to remain south of the tracks for the long haul. FBN


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