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Local brothers open new pizza restaurant

 

Photo by Morgan Drake. Co-owner Josh Hughbanks tosses dough up into the air, about to make a pizza in his new restaurant, The Slice Pizza.
Photo by Morgan Drake.
Co-owner Josh Hughbanks tosses dough up into the air, about to make a pizza in his new restaurant, The Slice Pizza.

 

Working with family members can be difficult, but it does not seem to bother brothers Jeff and Josh Hughbanks, co-owners of a new restaurant in downtown Moline called The Slice Pizza.

The secret is that they are usually never in the restaurant, located at 1401 Fifth Ave., at the same time.

“I run it exclusively,” said Josh Hughbanks. “He only runs it one or two nights a week. My brother and I have worked together off and on for the past six, seven, eight years. We get a long just fine.”

Originally from Geneseo, Jeff Hughbanks wanted to open up his own pizza shop for the past four or five years after working at Spinner’s Pizza in Milan, according to Josh Hughbanks.

“He came up with his own recipe and tweaked it and changed it over the years,” said Josh Hughbanks, “and he worked on his dough and sauce for a good year until he actually opened, just to make sure everything was right, and once he got to that point, he decided he wanted to open a place and sell it to the public, and that’s when I got in.”

The brothers originally owned a pizza shop with the same name on Second Avenue in Rock Island for the last year and a half but decided to move to Moline to be in a better location.

According to the restaurant’s Facebook page called The Slice Pizza in Moline, The Slice Pizza is open everyday at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. on Monday though Thursday and at 3:30 a.m. on Friday through Saturday.

“We cater to the bar crowd,” said Josh Hughbanks. “Lots of Augie students (come) down here and lots from the local crowd, and we stay open late to make sure they get some food in their bellies before they go home.”

Out of the 11 pizzas on the menu, Josh Hughbanks’ favorite is the chicken Alfredo that has a white sauce with seasoned chicken. His stepbrother Ramon Veloz, who also works at the restaurant, agrees.

When it comes to how business is going, Veloz said that lunchtime has been doing especially well.

“It’s my first time being in the fast-paced restaurant business, so it gets hectic, but it’s not bad as long as I can keep up,” said Veloz.

While the chicken Alfredo may be a favorite of Josh Hughbanks and Veloz, according to Josh Hughbanks, the Cajun gumbo pizza has been increasingly popular but expensive due to the sausage they put on it. Therefore, they do not make them during the lunch buffets every Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We only make them for special requests or order out orders,” said Josh Hughbanks, “but if you ask 9 out 10 people, that would probably be their favorite.”

As for the future of the restaurant, he is not worried, even though the first few weeks were slow due to them opening a few days before Christmas.

“We know the place will succeed,” said Josh Hughbanks. “We are there now. We are at the point where we can take a deep breath and just know that just coming in and working our butts off, the place is going to stay open now. We are over that hump.”

Pizza By the Slice is now located at 1401 5th Avenue in Moline. Photo by Morgan Drake.
Pizza By the Slice is now located at 1401 5th Avenue in Moline. Photo by Morgan Drake.

The Slice Pizza co-owner Josh Hughbanks discusses why he and his brother chose to relocate their restaurant, The Slice Pizza, to Moline. He also talks about their pizza production.

AUDIO: JOSH HUGHBANKS MOVES :60

Ramon Veloz is the stepbrother of The Slice Pizza co-owner’s Josh and Jeff Hughbanks. Veloz talks about his first time working in a pizza restaurant with his stepbrothers.
AUDIO: ROMAN VELOZ COOKS :49