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Eegee’s co-founder starts fresh with new restaurant

Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat Slice & Ice pizza being removed from the oven. Eegee's founder opens new restaurant in Tucson, serving pizza, sandwiches, fries, salads and Italian ice drinks

Despite previous success, Eegee’s co-founder and restaurateur Ed Irving has decided to start fresh in the food service industry. 

Irving’s new restaurant, Slice and Ice, located on Grant Road, sells pizza, fries sandwiches and some originals and no-longer-used Eegee’s recipes.

“I’ll always love Eegee’s — that’s my baby — but they don’t even have some of the [original] recipes on the menu,” Irving said. “The company that bought it, they bought it with the recipes that were in place in 2006. That changed a lot when Bob [Greenberg] and I founded it. I went back to the originals with a couple of changes because the times have changed.”

While it was natural to compare Eegee’s and Slice and Ice due to Irving’s involvement in both, his new “ices” have distinct differences from his and Greenberg’s “eegees.”

Slice & Ice is a new restaurant in Tucson that offers pizza, sandwiches, fries, salads and Italian ice drinks.

“As far as if you want to differentiate the products, it’s pretty different,” Irving said. “It’s very, very simple. Simple recipe: sugar, water, some natural flavoring. ”

Irving described the menu at Slice and Ice in a simple manner as well.

“I wanted a pizza place, and that’s what this is. We got six sandwiches. I can make 100 varieties of pizzas,” Irving said. “We feature seven different ones, but you can make anything you want. People like it. … I like the price.”

The Slice and Ice menu also features the classic Eegee’s crinkle cut fry shape, but with new options such as cheese or garlic fries. 

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The idea for Slice and Ice, which opened for business late January, came in the form of a Pieology pizza oven and a vacant restaurant.

“It was just kind of like an alignment of the stars. I’ve owned this building for 10 years. It was a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I bought it as an investment with a partner,” Irving said. “When the lease expired, they were not going to renew. So I had an empty building.”

As for what happened next, Dominick Scala, a former Eegee’s employee whose tenure lasted around 39 years, explained, “He had the building, first of all, and they bought the equipment. So you’d think, well, we’ve got the building,  we have the equipment, let’s give it a run.”

Slice & Ice is a new restaurant in Tucson that serves pizza, sandwiches, fries, salads and Italian ice drinks. Includes a family friendly environment with a diverse and friendly staff and management.

Despite the fact that Scala stopped working at Eegee’s six years ago, he was back in another restaurant owned by Irving last week, according to both him and Irving. 

“I told him if you need a hand or you get in a bind, let me know. We had a good relationship,” Scala said. “I worked for him for … over 30-something years.” 

For Scala, those years were like a summer job.

“A buddy of mine was working there in high school, and he goes ‘If you want a job, I can get you a job,’” Scala said. “I started as a junior or senior in high school, and I looked at it as a summertime job. The summer lasted 39 years. It’s kind of funny how that worked out.”

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Paul Carillo, former operations manager of Eegee’s, wished Irving the best of luck. Carillo was a former employee, but he only helps out now and again at Slice and Ice. 

“I wish him all the luck in the world because we’re going to make it a success,” Carillo said. 

Since 2006, when Irving and Greenberg sold Eegee’s, Irving has not been as involved in the restaurant business. Now, he has some things to get used to.

Slice & Ice is a new restaurant in Tucson that serves pizza, sandwiches, fries, salads and Italian ice drinks. The restaurant has a family-friendly environment with a diverse, friendly and attentive staff.

“I had culture shock after being retired from this business for 14 years, because prices have gone up tremendously,” Irving said. “I’ve seen it all around me in everything else.”

Before opening, Irving had to raise the prices four times before a final menu was decided on.

“I would break down the cost. [There were] huge percentages, percentages that I knew we couldn’t sustain … a business for the price point I wanted,” Irving said.

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Despite Irving’s initial pricing challenges and Slice and Ice’s recent opening, current Slice and Ice employee Ethan Blodgett saw a bright future of the store.

“This is our only store at the moment,” Blodgett said. “That’s another big thing. We’re not a big company yet. Hopefully, we will be soon. But for now, we’re just a small little one store.”

Slice & Ice is a new restaurant in Tucson that serves pizza, sandwiches, fries, salads and Italian ice drinks. Includes a family friendly environment with a diverse, friendly staff and management.

As for expanding the menu, Irving had a couple ideas.

“In 1977 we put french fries on the menu, should’ve thought of that a long time ago,” Irving said. “As it went, things get added on. So here, we started simply here. I want to do a breakfast item. Italian themed. Pizza would make you think that. My goal is to sell a breakfast calzone.”

In the meantime, Irving will continue to work at Slice and Ice, elbow to elbow with his employees.

Slice and Ice is located on 1905 W. Grant Road and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

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