Co-founders Ryan Van Biene and Tyler Norwood have known each other since 1997. They maintained a friendship from grade school to undergrad, and after Norwood began his studies in business school at the University of Texas, he met co-founder Ned Lavelle.
As they entered the restaurant industry, Norwood and Levelle had a creative itch to make something of their own. Van Biene was familiar with Pizza Port in San Diego, a brewpub with pizzas on the menu similar to Pinthouse Pizza but not quite the same, and shared the concept with his co-owners.
“We used it as a launching point and made it our own, and we’ve continued to evolve the concept,” Norwood said.
They added family friends Kyle Detrick and Nic Van Biene as co-founders in addition to Joe Mohrfeld, a former head brewer for Odell Brewing Co., bringing Pinthouse’s ownership group to six.
The group opened their first brewpub on Burnet Road in North Central Austin, producing 690 barrels of beer a year in 2012.
“We were lucky because we came out of the gate busy,” Detrick said. “We had to double the size of our brewing capacity in the first three months.”
Now, Pinthouse Pizza has four locations, expanding to South Lamar Boulevard in 2016; Round Rock in 2019; and its newest location, Pinthouse Brewing on Ben White Boulevard, in 2020.
When Pinthouse expanded out of Austin, Norwood said the feel of the location also slightly changed.
“[Round Rock] is the only location out of the first three original pizza pubs with a bar as the focal point,” Norwood said. “The Burnet and South Lamar locations feel more like a restaurant with a bar that’s a part of it.”
Pinthouse Pizza is no stranger to change. On Dec. 3, the development company that owns the Brodie Oaks shopping center where Pinthouse’s second restaurant is located, Barshop & Oles Co., announced a $1 billion mixed-use project on the site including hotels, residences and green space. The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2022 or 2023.
“We’re not 100% sure what the best solution is, but that will be a dialogue we will continue to have with them as they finalize their plans for the center,” Norwood said.