When it first opened in Omaha in 2009, Pitch Pizza offered a great pizza spot with a small menu of hand-made meatballs and salads.
And today, with two locations in Omaha, a popular outpost in South Scottsdale, and a newly opened 6,000-square-foot restaurant in the Cavasson mixed-use building on Hayden Road, all of those menu items are still great—but the brand is so much more.
“Our evolution into a culinary destination is 100% thanks to our team culture, community partners, and talented kitchen squad led by our long-time chef Manny ‘Chef MC’ Carino,” says Dean Leisman, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of Pitch.
The initial Scottsdale restaurant, located in The Quad on 63rd Street and Thomas, opened in 2017. It offers a mix of masculine architectural elements, including metal, wood, and cement, in a 4,000-square-foot space, with an expansive patio, exposed ductwork, and a partially exposed kitchen by design.
The locale wowed guests from day one with its scratch-made recipes, extensive bourbon and tequila selections, and a “come as you are, leave as a friend” approach to service.
“Over time, we added new elements, notably cocktail dinners, brunch, and seasonal menu items, eventually working with a winemaker to create our own proprietary wine, as well,” says Leisman, adding that Pitch makes its signature cocktails from its private barrels of select spirits, offers specials on said spirits via its Pitch Booze Bank daily, and just launched its fifth vintage of wine. Called No Offense, the wine was released in late 2022 in partnership with a Napa winemaker. Primarily a Zinfandel but with nuanced levels of Petit Syrah and Port, the wine is so popular that the team is retailing it for $30 and offering it in-restaurant for $45.
The move to expand to North Scottsdale was not a fluke, as plans for a second restaurant were in place for a while, but it happened through an unexpected set of circumstances.
“Last year during WM Phoenix Open week, a group came into our Quad location for drinks and dinner,” says Leisman, who was there that night and became fast friends with them.
The next day, Leisman got a call from his broker. It turns out, Pitch’s broker walked with the broker for Nationwide nearly daily, and during their morning constitutional, the Nationwide broker randomly asked if he knew anything about Pitch.
“Apparently, we made quite the positive impact on them, and within 12 hours, the chairman for Nationwide hopped on a plane from Ohio to meet me and discuss opening in their planned and highly touted Cavasson center,” says Leisman. “Ten months later, we opened our doors there.”
The North Scottsdale location is almost identical to the Quad restaurant, with a few significant differences. While the space is the same combination of metal, wood, and cement, it has a 100% exposed kitchen, which has long been on Chef MC’s “want” list. In addition, the building faces east to allow for unobscured views of the McDowell Mountains. And finally, at 6,000 square feet, the restaurant is a third larger than its sister property, allowing for two breathtaking patio spaces.
At brunch, expect a laundry list of Chef MC’s personal favorite morning dishes and breakfast pizzas, including “Bacon Me Crazy Pizza” with chorizo gravy and cherry pepper aioli. There are also skillets, sweets, and traditional morning staples.
At lunch and dinner, the menu starts with mix-and-match tapas, as well as ample appetizers and charcuterie boards, before moving into its more than 15 pizzas, handmade pastas, a laundry list of massive salad and sandwiches, and perfectly plated entrees that rival those in the top fine dining destinations in Arizona. To finish, do not miss the red velvet cake, cowboy ice cream infused with bourbon or the seasonal cobbler.
“No matter which location you visit and what day of the week, Pitch makes everyone its VIPitches,” says Leisman.
In the coming months, Pitch will launch a pizza kit to-go program to raise money for community partners.