By Melissa Slager Special to The Herald
EVERETT — When its spot in a Smokey Point strip mall fouled off, Major League Pizza owner Andy Hansen and his family went to the bullpen for a veteran.
The pizza shop has taken a new home field at 2811 Colby Ave. in downtown Everett, hoping its varyingly creative pizzas find a home run and help spark a winning streak for downtown itself.
Pizza names go for the fences, with the Grand Salami (meat lovers), The Wave (Hawaiian-style), South Paw (taco), No Hitter (cheese only) and Fielder’s Choice (for vegans), just to name a few.
Too many puns?
Well, that’s all part of the fun for Hansen and his wife, Leona, and their two adult sons, Gabriel and Zachary, who hand-toss dough and lay down lines of pepperoni to make this business fly.
“We have to cover all our bases,” Leona Hansen says.
Andy Hansen opened Major League Pizza four years ago after working the better part of two decades for other pizza chains, from delivery to management. The name came to him in a dream, and he and his family had fun from there. It’s one reason he likes the move to ownership.
“I can do my own thing and get creative to put whatever I can think of on a pizza,” he said.
Downtown has become a hot spot of sorts for pizza.
There are the old familiar names, like Alfy’s Pizza on Broadway, as well as solid newcomers, including Brooklyn Bros. Pizzeria on Hewitt Avenue. Romio’s Pizza &Pasta is just a few doors down from Major League on Colby Avenue.
Business has started slow since Major League opened April 19, but the Hansens aren’t worried.
Every pizza shop has its own approach to pie. For Andy Hansen, it’s all about variety and creativity, with three crust options, nine sauce options and myriad toppings that include coconut and sauerkraut. “Where else do you get a Reuben pizza?”
The eatery also offers grinders, salads and wings.
The Hansens, who live in Lake Goodwin, said they had a following in Arlington and were sad to say goodbye to their regulars. But some of those customers work in Everett and have been able to follow them to their new digs. Most of their employees are the same ones who lived and worked in Arlington.
The excitement of being in downtown Everett is a big draw, added Leona Hansen.
“The feel of it is right. The unique thing about downtown Everett is you feel you have your own community — right in a downtown. … Your customers are walking by and pretty soon you get to know them by name,” she said.
Leona Hansen said they share the vision of their landlords, the Skotdals, of a revitalized downtown.
“We’re on board,” she said. “We want to see it really come to fruition, where Colby becomes the go-to destination.”
It was at the invitation — and a good offer — from the Skotdals that sealed the move,
The Hansens are a welcoming family who want to bring that warmth to the small eatery, which has a few tables for dine-in seating, is open to the kitchen and is decorated in baseball memorabilia and red, white and blue.
Leona Hansen’s paying job is with Apollo Neon of Mukilteo, which made the signs for the pizzeria. For the shop’s grand opening last week, her boss and a co-worker came to help out, bearing a large bouquet of flowers. One of the Skotdals also stopped by to check in. And when the doors opened, workers from nearby businesses were walking through the door.
“We wanted to have an open feeling,” Leona Hansen said. “It’s like Thanksgiving. You’re part of the kitchen and all the activity.”
Major League Pizza
2811-C Colby Ave., Everett
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and to 9 p.m. Sunday.