The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

New Iowa City Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza location aims to offer pizzeria perfection

Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza is set to open a location in University Heights near the intersection of Melrose and Sunset Streets in August. (Hieu Nguyen/The Daily Iowan)

A second Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza location will appear in the Iowa City area, and owner and founder Jerry Zimmerman calls his decision “crazy.”

The popular Iowa City Farmers’ Market and Cedar Rapids NewBo City Market pizza establishment will open a brick-and-mortar location at 1308 Melrose Ave. early in August.

The goal? A classic Italian pizzeria with the very best pizza, antipasto, salads, and desserts, Zimmerman said.

Around a dozen new items will be added to the menu at the new location, said Executive Chef David Wieseneck, and each will be designed to complement the pizzas.

Many might recognize Wieseneck as the former head chef at the now-closed Motley Cow Cafe, but he said Maggie’s will be a new experience.

“There’s a very focused product at Maggie’s, one that I’m pretty familiar with, in the wood-fired pizzas. At the Motley Cow, the menu was much more expansive, so the pizzas were less of a focus,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very refreshing to be able to isolate this product and really work on making it the single best pizza in Iowa.”

Zimmerman and wife Carolyn Brown approached Wieseneck after Motley Cow’s closing was announced, Wieseneck said. He was attracted by the proposed atmosphere of the new restaurant.

“[Jerry and Carolyn] talked about this environment of a classic pizzeria: with its vitality, where the owner is there and is talking to you, and where you realize there’s a lot of love embodied in the space,” he said.

RELATED: Motley Cow to bid adieu

The couple also recruited General Manager Roc Kemmerer, whom Zimmerman describes as “the best front-of-the-house person I’ve ever seen.”

“Until we got him, we didn’t really consider opening brick-and-mortar,” Zimmerman said.

Kemmerer has been in the restaurant business for 38 years, working in Iowa, Kentucky, Oregon, New York, and West Virginia, although his roots go back to Cedar Rapids. He was wooed by Zimmerman’s expertise and reputation.

“Jerry has put years and years of work into this — he’s worked with pizza since he was 12 years old — and he has refined this to a point that we have, just through the small place up in NewBo and the Farmers’ Market, a known brand in the area,” Kemmerer said. “We use really high-quality ingredients and years of working at this to perfect a great product.”

That perfection is what it takes to stand out in a college town jammed with pizza joints.

More to Discover