A beloved North Texas pizzeria is back -- The Flying Tomato was a staple in Denton for decades, but was forced to shut down four years ago.
Now, it's setting up shop in Sanger under a slightly different name -- The Tomato.
“I love it. I absolutely love it,” says Michael Slusarski whose family owns the restaurant that opened back up on May 13, 2011.
You could go to the county records office to learn its history or grab a pie and read about it on their mural wall. The decorations are nearly a pop-up book illustrating where the business came from and how it landed in Sanger.
The pizza place first started in Champaign, Illinois in the 1970’s. Slusarski’s parents moved to Texas in 1984, bringing the franchise with them.
In 1998 they bought and got full control of the name and did business in Denton until the Fry Street building home that was home to their restaurant and others was scheduled to be demolished. That building went up in flames before bulldozers could tear it down.
“We were out of business for four years exactly on the day. We closed May 13, 2007 and then reopened May 13, 2011,” said Slusarski.
Now, in Sanger, the family hopes to rebuild the brand.
“That’s what our goal is. That’s the reason why we opened up here in town. Rent was very cheap and just to kind of get us going again to eventually have a second location or to open back up in Denton,” said Slusarski.
The key to a new brick and mortar is continuing their unique sauce and cheese -- like what's used in The Tomato’s stuffed pizza.
Though the stuffed pie is huge and can easily feed a family, if you still find yourself wanting a bigger meal, you can always order the Heavy Weight Challenge.
“Heavy Weight Challenge is a heavy weight pizza, which is our stuffed pizza, and you can get any kind of toppings you want on it. It’s 6 breadsticks, a garden salad and you have an hour to finish it and if you finish it in an hour you get it for free," Slusarski explains.
"You get a really cool trophy with it and your picture on a wall. We’re trying to get it going and get people in here to try it out and see who can do it and who can’t. We’ll eventually have a wall of fame and we’re not sure about the wall of shame, but it would be kind of cool,” said Slusarski.
If you’re not that hungry you can always opt for a simpler thick crust Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
Whatever your appetite the Slusarski family has something to serve you, all while hoping to bring its business full circle.
303 Bolivar Street
Sanger, TX 76266