Although Grinnell offers plenty pizza options, all of them require a pie seeker to leave the couch and travel to the establishment for that cheesy goodness. This inconvenience will soon be rectified with the opening of Midwest staple Pizza Ranch at 613 West Street South, offering delivery, drive-thru and dine-in options.
“Pizza Ranch franchise has been looking at Grinnell for about 10 years,” said Grinnell Chamber of Commerce President Angela Harrington. “Probably, I’d say maybe about a year ago we started helping facilitate identifying a location.”
The Wal-Mart parking lot location was selected for several reasons, including a traffic volume of around 12,000 cars a day. Construction of the entirely new building began last fall.
“They like that site because it was kind of between the hotels and downtown,” Harrington said.
The managing team, headed by Brandon Ver Meer—who has a long history with the franchise—will be moving to Grinnell.
“I started working at the Pella Pizza Ranch in high school and then I got done with college and I ended up working back there again,” Ver Meer said. “Then some guys approached me about opening a Pizza Ranch up in Carroll, Iowa … I had ownership in that and then I sold my shares there because we decided to do one in Grinnell.”
Harrington appreciates the Ranch’s willingness to relocate.
“That’s really exciting when you have local decision making here in town,” she said.
Known for their pizza and chicken, Pizza Ranch also offers a buffet and salads. During the weeks leading up the Iowa Caucus, Republican candidates frequented establishments all over the state and the Bonne, IA branch went as far as naming their chicken salad after candidate Rick Santorum.
Besides their political forays, Pizza Ranch stresses philanthropic good.
“Pizza Ranch is big on giving back to the community,” Ver Meer said.
Efforts include “Tip Nights,” where an organization can send volunteers to clean and bus tables. For their work, the organization receives 10 percent of that nights take and all of the tips left. Considering the franchise is Christian owned and their vision is “To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in,” it is not entirely clear if certain college groups will be allowed to take advantage of this fundraising opportunity.
Currently, Ver Meer is aiming for a late April opening day. Once operational, it will be open from Mon-Sat from 11 am to 10 pm and close at 9 pm on Sundays while the buffet will only operate from 11 am to 1:30 pm and 5 to 8 pm each day. One to two topping large pizzas will be 10 dollars while specialty ones will be 12. Perhaps most appealing to Grinnell students is the delivering aspect, which students have missed since Jimbo’s closed two years ago.
“The college better take advantage of us, right,” Ver Meer said.