ORLANDO, Fla. – A popular pizza spot in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village is now closed, but a new pizza place will be opening in its place on Saturday.
Perla’s Pizza closed on Aug. 1, less than seven months after it opened inside The Thirsty Topher, a bar located at 601 Virginia Drive.
Ziggie’s Pizza will open Saturday at 5 p.m. under the ownership of Christian Ziegler, who was one of the co-owners of Perla’s.
Ziegler and Mike Collantes started Perla’s inside The Thirsty Topher after the bar advertised on Facebook that it was looking to open a small kitchen and was soliciting chefs to pitch their concept. This was in response to bars being forced to shut down for a second time last summer due to COVID-19. Restaurants were still allowed to operate under that restriction.
Ziegler and Collantes recently decided to part ways. The two released a joint statement about their partnership dissolving. You can read the statement below:
“In February 2021, Chef Michael Collantes, along with business partner, Christian Ziegler, introduced Perla’s Pizza and temporarily subleased the space within the Thirsty Topher for 6 months, which expired end of July 2021. Chef Collantes and Mr. Ziegler have mutually resolved to close up the operation of Perla’s Pizza at the Thirsty Topher. Chef Collantes will be exploring future locations for Perla’s Pizza in the very near future, while Mr. Ziegler will be looking to work with the Thirsty Topher to open a new pizza concept called, not a rebranding of Perla’s Pizza, but a separate concept called Ziggie’s Pizza, with hopes to open very soon. Both partners wish each other the best of luck in their future ventures.”Mike Collantes and Christian Ziegler
Ziegler said he has worked in Orlando’s culinary scene for the past 10 years, starting out as one of the first employees at Hunger Street Tacos. He had been planning to open his own restaurant for a while, but, prior to Perla’s, the opportunities just did not feel right.
“I never envisioned it like this. I know for myself, I had an interest in opening my own restaurant for several years now, and I had an opportunity to do so. But the location wasn’t right,” he said. “I had the money ready to go. The location wasn’t right, I wasn’t super comfortable with the idea of what I was going to be doing. And I just wasn’t quite sure it would work.”
Ziegler said people can still expect the same quality pizza at Ziggies.
“Everyone’s gonna see some familiar faces,” Ziegler said. “So we look forward to seeing our regulars and being back in the community and — just because that area of town is so great. The support that we received while we were there from the neighborhood was amazing.”
Ziegler’s brother will also be joining Ziggie’s crew.
The banana pizza that Perla’s was known for will not be available at Ziggie’s, as it was Collantes’ creation, but some new pizza concoctions will be added to the menu.
“We’re gonna be debuting a new anchovy, white sauce-based, clam pizza,” Ziegler said. “We’re doing pan-seared clams with potato and red onions (on the pizza).”
The creation is somewhat of a cross between a New Haven-style apizza and a Pagash, a Polish-inspired pizza often found in parts of Pennsylvania around lent.
“We’re calling it the Wu-Tang Clam,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler is also looking to expand the menu as Jason Perez, owner of the Thirsty Topher, is set to make improvements to the kitchen.
“We’re putting in a hood (ventilation system) so that way they (Ziegler) can do more food. We’re trying to improve as much as possible. We give them the tools they need to make sure they can keep on growing and getting better and better,” Perez said.
Perez explained that the hood system will allow them to bring in more kitchen equipment, giving Ziegler “more options culinarily.”
Ziegler said he is already planning to add wings to the menu.
“As far as what goes good with beer and pizza, wings is always a solid option,” he said. “So we’re menu testing what sauces we would like to use. Again we’re limited on space and so we do want to keep it more condensed as far as the menu goes.”
Ziegler hopes to offer up four or five wing varieties once he’s settled on the flavors. Right now, there is no set date for the wings to join the menu.
Ziegler said Ziggies will open Saturday and Sunday, then close for two days before reopening on Wednesday, Aug. 25. After that, the pizza place will be open seven days a week. On Monday through Thursday, Ziggie’s will be open from 3 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from Noon to Midnight and Sunday from Noon to 10 p.m.
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