Food & Drink

All in the family: PizzaFiend opens to compliment BurgerFiend

Ali Igram (right) and Hassan Igram together with Omar Igram (not pictured) discuss the layout for their new menus April 6 at PizzaFiend, which brothers Ali and Omar Igram own, in Cedar Rapids. The restaurant is housed under the same roof as the family’s other business, BurgerFiend. PizzaFiend offers all-beef products on its pies. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Ali Igram (right) and Hassan Igram together with Omar Igram (not pictured) discuss the layout for their new menus April 6 at PizzaFiend, which brothers Ali and Omar Igram own, in Cedar Rapids. The restaurant is housed under the same roof as the family’s other business, BurgerFiend. PizzaFiend offers all-beef products on its pies. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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Pizza and burgers have been central to brothers Ali and Omar Igram’s family since they were kids.

Their father Jim Igram previously owned a burger place, Jimbo’s, as well as Charlie’s Pizzeria, both in Cedar Rapids.

“The two best things in the world are pizza and burgers,” Ali said. “We grew up eating them.”

So it makes sense that when they were looking for a new venture to add on to their restaurant, BurgerFiend, they went with pizza.

They opened PizzaFiend Stone Fired Pizza, a companion business inside BurgerFiend, about three months ago.

Previously the extra room at BurgerFiend that houses PizzaFiend was used as overflow seating or as a party room, and they wanted to better use the space.

“We had this extra space and thought we should put something in here,” Omar said.

They brought in a pizza oven, which can use wood or gas to create flames that heat a rotating stone, cooking pies at high temperatures. A pizza takes three minutes to cook.

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The menu mimics the “build your own” concept that has worked well for their burgers. They also have signature pies, including their favorite, The Gyro, topped with tzatziki, red sauce, mozzarella, onion, tomatoes and gyro meat.

“That was is finicky. It is hard to get right in the pizza oven. You have to be really careful it doesn’t dry out,” Ali said.

They serve no pork products in the restaurant, with all beef pepperoni and turkey Canadian bacon. In addition to pizzas, the PizzaFiend menu includes breaded chicken wings, which are baked in the pizza oven, salads and dessert pizzas.

Ali said the key to a good burger — or a good pizza — is top quality ingredients. They source their beef from Tama and grind it fresh in house daily.

“When it comes to burgers, we would eat out and say, ‘Man, this doesn’t taste like the burgers we have at home,’” Omar said.

PizzaFiend first opened as Zaydo’s. That name only lasted a brief time before they renamed it PizzaFiend. The original idea was for it to be a separate business entity entirely, but when they decided to integrate it into BurgerFiend — allowing customers to order from both menus at once — they renamed it to stay on brand.

Name changes are par for the course for the brothers. Their burger restaurant started as Burgerfry, then became Burgerfeen before they finally settled on BurgerFiend. The original location is now closed, but the 3980 Center Point Road NE location has been open since June 2015.

Though they had once thought about turning BurgerFiend into a franchise, Ali said that isn’t on the menu anymore.

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“We don’t want to cut corners with quality,” he said. “If you believe in your product, that’s the reason you do this.”

Jim Igram agreed, sharing his thoughts with his sons and their cousin Hassan Igram last week as the family shared a pizza lunch. Restaurants are a lot of work, he said, but they’re worth it.

“It makes your day when someone tells you what a good burger you have,” he said.

If you go

• What: PizzaFiend Stone Fired Pizza

• Where: 3980 Center Point Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday

• Details: (319) 200-4499, facebook.com/PizzaFiendCR

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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