Owner: The Brick not done for yet

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Owner says popular Columbus pizzeria will reopen later this week

COLUMBUS — Area residents may be happy to know their famed garlic knots and pizza are not gone forever.

According to its owner, Columbus’ The Brick Pizzeria is not gone for good, despite some recent Facebook posts that said the restaurant has closed its doors after 24 years.

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The Brick owner Ron Kujawa said he is trying to reopen later this week, hopefully Friday.

Kujawa said the restaurant simply got too short on wait staff.

The restaurant will likely not be open as many days every week as before once it reopens, with Kujawa saying it will likely only be open Thursday through Sunday moving forward.

“We can’t go back to what we used to do,” Kujawa said. “I ran that place for 20 years, seven days a week, then six days a week, then five days, because there’s no help available.”

The owner said his dilemma in reopening the restaurant is that The Brick has so many loyal customers, and he does not want to disappoint them.

He said the staffing issue has been hard to deal with, as the restaurant will hire two people to do one person’s job, and then they do not show up for work. He said it is a trend he is seeing in other industries as well.

“Maintaining a labor force is more of an issue,” he said. “I felt like I was disappointing my loyal customers. So, we needed to take a breather.”

Kujawa said his kitchen staff is not the issue, and is solid. He said some of his kitchen employees have been with the business for 10 years.

As for the wait staff, Kujawa said he has a plan in place to reopen by the end of this week.

“We’re doing everything we can,” he said. “Our intention is to serve our customers. We love them back. And I apologize. I’ve got such a great kitchen. We’ve formed such a good team. When we’re on, we’re on.”

Kujawa said he cannot disappoint his staff like he cannot disappoint his customers.

Kujawa and his late brother, Lee Kujawa, officially opened The Brick in 1994 at 214 E. Mills St. in downtown Columbus. The restaurant has grown over the years, with The Brick purchasing the building next door to expand several years ago.

Kujawa said Lee semi-retired in Polk County, and knew the community well by the time the brothers opened The Brick. Lee was a chef who learned to make pizza in Michigan, who then took his talents to New Jersey before moving to Polk County. Kujawa said they both were in the food business their entire lives.