CEDAR RAPIDS — Curt Bean tried to leave the restaurant business. But it called him back.
“Restaurants started as a summer job for me when I was a teenager,” he said. “They’re all I’ve ever done, except for two years of my life.”
Bean, who lives in Marion, first opened his own restaurant in 1996 with a now-closed restaurant, Ashley’s Restaurant, and then founded Mr. Beans coffee shop, which has had various location in Cedar Rapids and Marion. He and his wife, Amy, have since sold Mr. Beans. He also opened Ruby’s Pizzeria in downtown Cedar Rapids, but sold it in 2015, long before it closed in 2018.
After selling the Mr. Beans location in Marion for a second time, Bean took a break from restaurants, working for a friend’s house painting business instead.
“I thought I was done with the restaurant business,” he said. “But I enjoyed making pizzas. I needed that immediate gratification you get if you do something good for someone.”
He said he’s always enjoyed customer interactions; he can’t always remember regulars’ names, but he’ll remember their favorite food. He’s enjoyed having people who were regulars at his past restaurants show up at Bop’s Pizza to say hello.
Bop’s Pizza opened June 12 in a Blairs Ferry strip mall near Natural Grocers. Bop’s Pizza is the first business to be in this storefront, and Bean put personal touches throughout the small dining room. He had the wooden booths custom built and stained and varnished them himself. Framed black and white M.C. Escher puzzles hang on the walls — Bean assembled them all himself.
“I love puzzles,” he said. “Some of these have been in my house for 13 years.”
The name, Bop’s Pizza, is in honor of his grandson, who called Bean “Bop,” when he first started talking. The nickname stuck.
He’s using the same recipes he used when Ruby’s first opened, with New York-style thin crust or Detroit-style thicker crust pizzas and a choice for customers to build their own or choose from combinations like taco, Mediterranean or Margherita. He has a gluten-free crust option. Other menu items include a meatball sandwich, salad and garlic or cheesy bread, plus dessert pastries made in-house. Customers can dine in or carry out, and at lunch he offers pizza slices, with personal pan pizzas in the afternoons that cook more quickly than full pizzas.
If You Go
• What: Bop’s Pizza
• Where: 921 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Suite 130, Cedar Rapids
• Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
• Details: (319) 826-1226, bopspizza.com
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