Every ski town that Mike McDonald had ever been to had a local pizzeria, except for Ogden. That is one reason why he thought 25th Street was the perfect location to open The Lucky Slice Pizza with his partners, Nick VanArsdel and Will Shafer.
McDonald ran a pizza place in Flagstaff, Ariz., for five years before reading about Ogden in a skiing magazine.
“All the cool ski towns I’ve ever been to always have a really rad pizzeria in the downtown area,” McDonald said. “I was blown away that there wasn’t a rad pizza place downtown that was open late.”
McDonald and VanArsdel moved to Utah in search of a location to open up a pizzeria. VanArsdel had recently graduated from business school, so he had the business expertise necessary, McDonald said. They eventually partnered up with Shafer, an Ogden native who went to culinary school in Oregon and is responsible for the development of some of The Lucky Slice’s signature pizzas. On Feb. 24 of last year, the three business partners opened 25th Street Pizza, later changing the name to The Lucky Slice Pizza.
Shafer said his culinary background inspires him to experiment with new tastes, colors and textures often. His creations often end up as monthly specials that are only available for a limited time. This month’s special is a bright red pizza with a roasted beet and tarragon vinaigrette base, roasted artichoke hearts, red onions, and a blend of ricotta and goat cheese.
The Lucky Slice caters to different dietary needs by featuring some vegan and gluten-free options. Shafer said the choice to cater to these needs was more of a business necessity than a culinary decision.
“We had multiple requests for gluten-free, and it’s just about giving the people what they want,” Shafer said. “The vegetarians, the gluten-free, the vegans have got to eat somewhere.”
McDonald said several things make The Lucky Slice unique. All of the food is made fresh every day, he said. They also work toward having good ties with the community and Weber State University.
“This is a funny college town in that it’s not really a college town,” McDonald said. “There isn’t this gigantic campus population, so it’s a bit different, but we try to reach out and be as involved with Weber State as we can.”
Shafer said that when he partnered up with McDonald and VanArsdel, he was excited, because he thought that any cool college town should have a cool place for students to spend time together.
“This is just a hip spot, just a hometown pizzeria,” Shafer said. “This is where you know the people at the counter, where you can joke around with the guy who’s cooking your pizza. I want that easygoing attitude.”
Colton Carter, one of The Lucky Slice’s employees, said the most enjoyable part about working there is the relationship between customers and employees.
“A lot of local people come in,” he said. “It’s just a great atmosphere. There are a lot of great people, a lot of great customers.”
Shafer said he was also excited to be a part of Ogden’s positive growth as a community. When he was growing up, the city was already taking on a new image, but when his parents were growing up, it wasn’t anything like it is today.
“I know a little bit about the history of Ogden, and in the past it was just straight-up a bad place to be,” he said. “It’s nice to see the positive upswing that Ogden has had in the past little while, and I’m glad to be part of that legacy.”
The Lucky Slice is also involved with the community by becoming involved with Ogden’s outdoor sporting scene. It sponsors a snowboarding team that has won several competitions. Shafer and McDonald said they hope to become even more involved with Ogden’s outdoor scene.
“We want to be involved wherever we can be,” Shafer said. “If you’re having fun, we wanna be there.”