The U Pizza & Burgers Opens
James Schayes jumps in.
by Sally Mitani
If you're named Schayes and you own a restaurant, you're probably going to be tempted to name something on the menu "Schayes Rebellion." James Schayes decided to bestow that name on a pizza topped with chicken, ground beef, pizza sauce, mozzarella, cheddar, and crushed Doritos. It's a good bet that most people would find it aptly named, whether because it seems to jab an elbow in the local fascination with expensive novelty pizzas (a large Schayes is a quite reasonable $12), or because it describes the revolt you imagine taking place in your stomach if you were to eat a slice.
"I always wanted to own my own restaurant. I took everything I had and jumped in with both feet," says Schayes, thirty, who opened The U Pizza & Burgers August 1. Schayes Rebellion--his personal favorite--isn't the menu's only walk on the wild side. You can also order a peanut butter and jelly pizza on a cinnamon crust, with your choice of grape or strawberry jam, and he insists this really is an oven-baked item worthy of the name "pizza," not a version of an open-faced sandwich. It is also, in his opinion, "awesome." His Bylo Mac pizza, he brags, tastes just like a Big Mac. Or if you stop by in the late morning (The U opens at 10 a.m.), one of his by-the-slice pizzas will be topped with either bacon and eggs or "BLTA"--bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, plus mayo and mozzarella. The U also offers more typical pizza toppings (large with one topping, $8). Three or four pizzas are always available by the slice at the counter, and Schayes guarantees none is more than an hour old.
The U replaces an outpost of New York Pizza Depot that opened on Jackson Road a few years ago but, unlike its popular flagship location at William and Maynard, never really caught fire. (Schayes, recently returned from running a group of Jimmy John's franchises in North Carolina, doesn't
really know why it closed, but says it looked like the owners had quit caring about it.) To hedge his bets, just in case pizza isn't what the neighborhood is craving, the other half of Schayes' menu is sandwiches, salads, and burgers, and while the list is short, the combinations are endless when you consider that any pizza topping, including peanut butter or Doritos, can also top a burger.
The U Pizza & Burgers, 3901 Jackson Rd. 369-8444. Daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
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[Originally published in September, 2010.]