Authentic Northwest Pizzeria, Zeeks Pizza, offers a slice of the sweet life  

With a taste of the northwest lifestyle in every bite, Zeeks Pizza continues its long legacy of sticking it to the man. As Executive Vice President, Greg McClure, begins: “Zeeks Pizza was opened in 1993, in Seattle, Washington. It started out with just one unit, and in the very beginning it was take-and-bake only, which meant we didn’t even cook the pizzas. The founders, Tom and Doug, were driven by a love of adventure, and a desire to try something new. Neither one of them had worked in a restaurant before, but they quit their office jobs and pursued their dream anyway.  Families eating outside Zeeks Pizza restaurant

“Pizza was their passion. In 1993, high-quality pizza was nowhere to be found. There was a gap in the market for somewhere that could offer authentically good pizza that people could also enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Our first delivery vehicle was a skateboard. Of course, food service has changed a lot since then.  

“Fast forward nearly 30 years, and we now have 25 Zeeks Pizza locations. They span across two states, with more under development as we speak. Pizza at all locations is available for dine-in, take-out, or delivery. Six of the restaurants are company owned and operated, and 19 are franchises. On top of that, we have two more franchise locations opening later this year.  

“We’re all about Pacific Northwest craft products. Our Pizzas are all handcrafted, using local ingredients wherever possible, and our beverages are all sourced from the Pacific Northwest as well. We partner with breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries across the region to provide customers with a well-rounded and fun experience. We even serve sodas from the Northwest region. Providing regional products, and partnering with local brands, is something we’re very proud of.” 

Fresh flavors 

A lot has changed in 30 years, but Zeeks Pizza has stayed true to its roots. As Greg discusses: “I’ve been with the company full time since graduating college in 2001, and I’ve been around long enough to know a lot of our long-time customers. Lots of people who remember the brand from its early days come back as franchisees, others will remain loyal due to the good memories we were able to provide for them as kids. We get a lot of people coming in, talking about a birthday party or end of season soccer party they had at Zeeks when they were younger. It holds a lot of fond memories for people and has retained the same feeling and soul despite changes and expansion over the years.” 

Box of Zeeks pepperoni pizzaA simple menu packed with all-time favorites keeps Zeeks Pizza customers coming back for more. As Greg asserts: “Pizza is our focus. Our menu offers a carefully selected range of handmade pizzas and craft beers. We also offer salads, using the same home style dressing recipe that Tom and Doug were whipping up with a hand blender, back in the early days. Some of the stores have branched out even further, a number of them offer spirits on the drinks’ menu, and some offer chicken wings as well.  

“We have so many amazing toppings available, but my personal favorite is the cherry bomb. It’s a unique recipe. We use regionally sourced pickled peppers, which are packed full of flavor. I haven’t had anything else like them. So, we top the pizza with some of those, a generous amount of Italian sausage, parmesan, and some fresh basil. It’s simple, but it’s outstanding, and is even better if you wash it down with a Pacific Northwest IPA.  

“The founders and I are all actively involved in the menu development process at Zeeks. We’re continually testing different concepts, trying to bring new flavors and experiences to our customers. It’s an exciting process, and we’ve always got our eyes peeled for new items. We try to figure out ways to ensure the brand remains true to its roots, while also staying on trend. People’s likes and dislikes change over time, and it’s important to stay on top of those things if you want to remain relevant.” 

Brand identity 

Customers can find a lively and inviting environment at each Zeeks Pizza location. “All of the stores have their own personality. We have a certain look and feel that is consistent across the brand – lots of old timber and wood, particularly in the bar area. There’s also lots of cold rolled black steel as part of the restaurant interior. It’s an inviting atmosphere, and we like to keep it that way as we want people to stick around and order one more beer. Those elements are important to us because they contribute to the Zeeks Pizza atmosphere, which isn’t something you can get anywhere else.  

“That being said, each space is different, and we have to adapt. Especially in cities like Seattle, where real estate is very competitive, we’ve had to find ways of transferring our aesthetic into old buildings, new buildings, and standalone units. One of our locations is as small as 800 square feet, which was a challenge. But, we have great design partners who made it into a really fun space,” Greg enthuses.  

A healthy combination of forward-thinking and nostalgic appreciation has helped turn Zeeks Pizza into a timeless classic. Technology will play a major role in keeping the business moving forward over the next few years, as Greg concludes: “I think the next step for us is to continue adapting to all the technology out there in the restaurant space in more impactful ways. The world has changed a lot the last few years in terms of how a pizza gets from one of our restaurants to our customers’ front door. Partnering with all the technology and third-party platforms out there, as well as giving customers greater access to our offering are all important steps to take if we want to bring on a new chapter for Zeeks Pizza.”