Madison’s Singular Slice
For 19 years, Ian’s Pizza has been a quintessential student experience.
Founded on Frances Street 19 years ago this Halloween, Ian’s Pizza has become synonymous with Madison and the UW. Named for cofounder Ian Gurfield, the by-the-slice shop has added franchises on State Street, on Madison’s east side, and in Denver, Seattle, and Milwaukee.
Ian’s endeared itself to the city with good food and a slice of Madison’s values. During the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, the shop provided pizza to marchers, even though demonstrations caused the restaurant to close.
The essence of Ian’s is the variety of toppings available by the slice. According to marketer Zach Chapman, mac-and-cheese remains Ian’s most popular type, followed by Smokey the Bandit, a barbecued chicken and bacon pizza.
COVID-19 has made life difficult. Much of the business at the Frances Street location comes from students, but the UW sent students home in March. “Fortunately, pizza is a good delivery business,” says Chapman.
Published in the Fall 2020 issue