The adventurous side of pizza
New Grafton restaurant offering less-than-common toppings

By Melanie Boyung - News Graphic Staff

Sept. 26, 2017

 Pictured above are Even Odds Pizza owners Tomme and Tonia Wengel and their son, Thomas.
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON — A new pizza place in Grafton has some things on the menu most people probably haven’t seen on a pizza before – you might even call it odd.

Even Odds Pizza opened its doors this month at 372 Falls Road. If pizza at that location seems familiar, it may be because Domino’s used to operate there until August of last year.

Owner Tomme Wengel used to operate a Domino's franchise, but now has gone into the pizza business for himself.

“I went around the country and learned a lot, from a lot of people,” Wengel said. “ ... I’ve tried all kinds of weird pizza.”

And that weird pizza has found a home with Wengel in Grafton.

Even Odds serves the classics – pepperoni and sausage, cheese and classic pizza sauce are all to be found on the menu – but there are also some things you’re less likely to find in the traditional pizza joint. Beets, pickles, artichokes and chickpeas all make an appearance on the topping list, and sauce options include far-beyond-standard pizza sauce, with ranch, dijon, hot sauce or mayonnaise.

The year between Domino’s and Even Odds that Wengel spent on his nationwide pizza journey introduced him to many new pizza possibilities. He said he has tried them all, and his menu is only just beginning.

While the Even Odds menu already has a variety of specialty pizzas, other-than-normal toppings and sauces, he is also working on other items to be added. That includes a rye crust, which will be used in the rueben pizza; he is also contemplating what could make a Thanksgiving pizza.

“I have a lot of other ideas I haven’t put in the oven (yet),” Wengel said.

 Tomme Wengel said he was looking for a “clever” name for the new restaurant.
Photo by Mark Justesen

Wengel is making his crusts and sauces from scratch, and working hard to make an exceptional, unique product. He offers hand-tossed and thin crust, as well as Detroit-style pizza. According to Wengel, the Detroit crust is seared quickly when cooked, which causes less rise in the crust for a lighter, easier to eat finished product. Wengel’s switch from franchise chain to independent pizza wasn’t planned ahead, per se. Last year Domino’s corporate offices wanted Wengel to move his Domino’s out to the Port Washington Road corridor in Grafton.

When Wengel would not move or sell, Domino’s suspended his franchise contract in August 2016.

The year of non-compete required by the franchise led to the gap between the old and new business for Wengel, though he spent it well in his travels, learning new pizza and planning his menu. While things are still new, he has high hopes for the new venture.

“Now I have a lot more opportunity for me and my employees to grow,” Wengel said. “I think I have much more of a future with Even Odds.”

“It's been pretty much an up ride,” he added.

Email: mboyung@conleynet.com