It’d be difficult to get tired of Canyon Pizza Co.’s menu, said Michael Goller, general manager of the restaurant’s new location on Main Street in Moab. Once you’ve tried the classics, like cheese or pepperoni, try the jalapeño popper pizza, with alfredo, bacon, cream cheese, green peppers and jalapeños; or the Nashville hot pie pizza, with Nashville chicken, red onions, house pickles, hot honey and ranch.
“There’s a conscious choice that goes into everything that we do, from operations to the pizza,” Goller said. “The direction we cut our veggies, the layers in which the veggies and meats go on the pizza, each pizza has its own look about it and its own texture. Those are incredibly conscious choices just to make sure that we’re putting out the product that we’re most excited and proud of.”
Cameron Tucker, the owner of Canyon Pizza Co., opened the first location of Canyon Pizza Co. in Nephi, Utah, in March 2020—eight days before Utah, and the rest of the country, closed most businesses and indoor locations due to COVID-19.
“We opened on the premise that we wanted to do a better job, faster, with better ingredients, and just give a better experience to our local market here in Nephi,” Tucker said. “When we wrote that concept, we relied heavily on it. And that helped us out a lot with finding ways to stay open and stay safe. We weathered all of the COVID storms and flourished through that.”
Goller said the Moab location came together this year because of Matt and Amber Neisen, who were “on the hunt” to find a pizza place to fill the void left by Paradox Pizza. Tucker’s father lives in Moab and introduced the Neisens to Canyon Pizza Co.
“Moab is one of the most unique places on earth,” Tucker said. “It’s been exciting fun to meet people, meet the local contractors, and meet the people at the local hardware stores and restaurants. It’s a very tight-knit community, and we’re just excited to be there.”
Goller was involved with the company as a consultant since he has a background in fine dining. When the Moab location gained speed, Goller decided to quit his job as a consultant and become the general manager of the new location.
The pandemic changed Goller’s mindset of what he wanted to do with his life, he said.
“When I was consulting, I didn’t have a day off. I maybe had a half a Saturday,” he said. “I wanted a change of pace, I wanted a new life that could still afford me to live but give me some time off. After 15 years of camping and vacationing in Moab, it was inevitable that I’d move here one day. It was always a second home to me.”
Goller said he’s “excited about everything” with the new restaurant. The physical location is on Main Street, across from City Market, and unlike the Nephi location, will offer dine-in as well as takeout.
“We have a magnificent dining room,” Goller said, and the location will eventually have an outdoor patio. Two of the community dining tables will be hand-made, and Tucker’s father is handcrafting a front register counter from a reclaimed pharmacy counter that Goller picked up in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Plus, Goller said, the menu prioritizes quality ingredients—all the flour used in the dough comes from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and the honey used in the sauce comes from Utah.
“Cameron [Tucker] and I probably tasted a dozen or two dozen different types of pepperoni to be able to find the product that we wanted to use, that fit our flavor profile,” Goller said.
The menu at the Moab location will be similar to the one in Nephi, but focus only on pizzas—the Nephi location also offers pasta, salads and wings, which Moab won’t yet. But the Moab location will have a few new pizza flavors and will offer more vegetarian options.
Prices range from $7 for an 8” personal pizza to $22 for a 16” family pizza.
“I think one of the best things about it is that we’re aiming to be a family location,” Goller said. “The fact that we can serve large groups at a pretty affordable price means we bring a lot of value to the table here in Moab … We’ll be open year-round, and we want to give people an alternative, affordable place to eat quality food.”
The location will open sometime at the end of January, depending on when a few key pieces of construction material arrive, Goller said.
In addition to the jalapeño popper and Nashville hot pie pizzas, Goller is also hoping to create a few specials, like a cheeseburger pizza or a Thai pizza.
“We want to keep people interested,” he said. “But if nothing else, our cheese and pepperoni are just great pizzas.”