Like the cinematic train it was named after, Zentropa Pizzeria & Pub owner Josh Baldwin said he put in a lot of miles in search of the right pizza recipe. Those miles were in the I-5 corridor, pounding the pavement in Seattle and Portland to find the crust, sauce and style Baldwin wanted to bring to Cheney.
“There are so many different types,” Baldwin said in an interview Wednesday, Jan. 23.
After liking the styles at places like Zeeks in Seattle and Portland’s Sizzle Pie, Baldwin settled on the large, wide, thin and foldable shape that is New York style pizza, and officially opened Zentropa Dec. 11.
An interesting time to open an eatery since one of Zentropa’s customer groups, college students, were on break. Baldwin said the opening was deliberate so that they could get any kinks worked out so as to create a good impression before business got hectic.
“We’ve got it all dialed in now,” he said.
Zentropa, located on the corner of College Avenue and Second Street in the former location of Immix, is named after the American release title for the 1991 hallucinatory Danish film “Europa” set in post World War II Germany. The name pays homage to two themes: Cheney’s railroad heritage and that the location used to be home to Cheney’s most recent attempt at a movie house, 24 Frames.
Indeed the wood and brick interior of Zentropa features numerous movie posters lining the walls, most from films many likely have never heard of, let alone seen. After Immix left, Baldwin put in comfortable booths, a buddy bar and removed most of the track lighting in favor of warmer more stylish overhead Edison bulb lamps.
“Just kind of cozy it up a bit,” Baldwin said.
There is a variety of pizzas to choose from, all New York style thin crust and hand tossed. The dough and bread are made in-house with the sauce their own blend, fresh, and available in two styles, pesto and white.
“Pretty much everything is done from scratch,” Baldwin said. “I think it’s better that way.”
There is a variety of salads, bread sticks Baldwin called “Wedgies” with lots of garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese (“They go well with beer.”), a choice of two dipping sauces, classic red and a pesto-ranch, along with calzones. Zentropa also features its own homemade meatballs.
Baldwin and Zentropa manager Jimmy Lo have some ambitious plans for a variety of activities at the restaurant. First up is the inaugural meeting of a wine tasting club on Feb. 22, feature four-flight tasting and wines from Spokane’s Lone Canary Winery. Lo said people can sign up by calling the pizzeria at 235-4338 or by going on Facebook to Zentropa Pizzeria & Pub.
They also are planning on instituting a mug club soon. For a $40 yearly membership, club members will get a 20 oz mug for 16 oz prices, with a good selection of microbrews to choose from.
There is a lunch special: two slices of cheese, pepperoni or combo pizza with a 20 oz soda for $6. There is also Wednesday Wings and Pints featuring a 10-piece plate of Buffalo wings for $5.99 and microbrew pints for $4. They are also planning “Education Appreciation Day” every Tuesday where teachers, administrators, anyone involved in education receives 15 percent off.
“Whether you’re a janitor or anybody involved in education,” Lo said. “No students though.”
For Baldwin, who moved to Cheney six years ago with his family and also owns Goofy’s and Wild Bill’s Long Bar, Zentropa is the realization of something he set his sights on a long time ago.
“This is what I always wanted to do,” he said. “(Have) a place for adults and kids, to bring the family.”
Zentropa is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Bradley added that they intend to begin making deliveries in a couple weeks as well.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.