The Pizza Yard.

My Pizza Brings All the Families to the Yard.

The Pizza Yard is Wasatch County’s coolest hangout for spectacular pizza and even better company. A few steps off the Main drag in the heart of Midway, it’s the perfect spot to meet with friends and grab the freshest slice, served hot out of a wood-fired oven. “Pizza is just the perfect social food,” says owner Matt Reshke. “Our motto kind of just became: We’re all friends here.”

Matt sat down with me over a margarita pizza (his recommendation). He explains, as he prepares the pizza right before my eyes, “I’ve always said you can get a good feel for a pizza place by trying their margarita pizza.” Let’s just say, I had a good feeling about The Pizza Yard from the first bite. We chatted about what got him into the pizza business. With a nostalgic smile, he recounted that he’s been cooking since he was six years old, and that his cooking has always served the purpose of bringing people together. “In college, my wife and I got married before a lot of our friends, and nobody really wanted to hang out with us anymore,” he recounts wryly, “and so I just started making pizza to lure my friends over; and then things kept getting crazier and crazier.” Even back then his backyard pizza parties planted ideas in the back of his mind for the pizzeria that exists today. The name “The Pizza Yard” is a call back to those parties with friends gathered around the table, and Matt hard at work making an assortment of pizzas; everyone grabbing a slice of each as they come steaming hot out of the oven. A painting depicting the infamous pizza parties hangs on the wall behind the pizza oven. It’s a beautiful piece they commissioned a Provo artist, and Matt’s best friend, Colby Sanford, to paint for the shop.

Initially, Matt earned a degree in advertising, “I considered opening a pizzeria right out of school, but I figured I should go use my degree for a while.” He fondly recalls the summer he spent, about a dozen years ago, as a poor college student; selling pizzas out of the back of a 1964 VW double cab with a custom-built deck and pizza oven. Matt would show up to the farmers market not knowing what his full menu would be. He would walk around and see what everyone was offering, and then he’d figure out how to put it on the pizza right there. This made for some pretty unique and delicious creations; like a pizza with a salsa base, mozzarella, and guacamole in the middle with chips for dipping. Matt worked at an ad agency in Salt Lake for several years, but he wasn’t sure how long he wanted to stay in the ad business. When he and his wife had their two children, life took on a whole new perspective. Matt describes, “As we had kids, we thought the longer we wait, the more important it is for [our business] to be successful.” That’s when the hunt began to find the perfect spot to create The Pizza Yard.

They bounced several ideas around before landing on the restaurant in its current incarnation. They thought about everything from a defunct factory or warehouse with enough space to drive a food truck into and fill with tables to a farm that would allow them to practice true farm-to-table dining. Matt decided that the best option though would be an old house that they would then convert into a restaurant, where it could feel like people coming over to his house and hanging out in his backyard for pizza. This brings us to the building they are in now. Matt says, “We’d always kind of had our eye on Midway, from driving through all the time, it’s just so beautiful and verdant and picturesque.” He continues, “This house is 120 years old, it has been a bunch of different things; it’s been commercial for a long time.” Matt moved his family to Midway in 2019 with every intention of opening the pizzeria quickly, when the world was shut down by Covid they took that as a sign, as Matt puts it, “If we’re going to do this, let’s just do it, right? So we took [the house/store] down to the studs, opened it up, and basically started from scratch.” His wife did all the interior decorating. When you walk in it feels like a cozy home, with warm lighting, neo-rustic decor, and lots of tables and chairs. In addition to the professional art on the wall, you can also see some of the creations other kids, including Matt’s, have contributed to the decor. My particular favorite is a piece Matt told me his daughter drew, it reads, “No stinky pizza!” Of course, if you want to have a true “yard” experience you can eat your pizza outside under string lights on warm nights. They’ve even got a yurt equipped with a wood stove to keep it nice and cozy during the colder months.

 

As I enjoyed my margarita pizza I was curious about the rest of the menu, Matt describes The Pizza Yard’s food offerings, “I call it Neapolitan-ish, like, Neapolitan style pizza. I went and trained at the AVPN School in Italy. I say trained, it’s like a two-week intensive program where you’re making margarita and marinara pizzas for nine hours a day, just perfecting those. And I did that to have a nice foundation.” AVPN is essentially a school that teaches how to make original authentic Neapolitan pizza. The thing that Matt is most excited about is using fresh local ingredients. “That kind of became my mission while we were opening. I just became so inspired by local food,” he explains. Matt even took it so far as to call up a farmer he met at a local farmer’s market and arranged to visit her farm. He walked away from that meeting fired up about using as many local ingredients as possible. Pointing to my margarita pizza, he recounts where all the ingredients come from: the dough from Logan, the cheese from Provo, the basil another local find. “It’s funny because people see pizza and think [the big chains,] a greasy slice,” Matt describes, “and there’s like, a pretty good movement right now that’s like this artisan creation. If you use good ingredients and good stuff it doesn’t have to be bad for you.” The menu is small, a point of pride for The Pizza Yard. They offer your standard pizzas – margarita and pepperoni – but then you also have some seasonal pizzas. I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear about their sage brown butter, winter squash, and prosciutto pizza; they put 150 pounds of winter squash, gathered from several farmers, to good use. It was a big hit until they ran out of winter squash. According to Matt, the menu is going to constantly be changing. There will always be something new, made with fresh seasonal ingredients. He smiles, “It’s been so fun to see 60-year-old men who were maybe skeptical, eat the pizza and then be like, ‘Oh, this is the best pizza I’ve had in my life.’ I need to keep a tally of how many times that’s been said because that’s just the best compliment you can get.”

The Pizza Yard officially opened its doors in September 2023 and became an immediate success. “We’re glad we opened when we did, it’s a really fun time in Midway; there are so many new families. And it was also really fun to open in the fall,” Matt posits, “I think Midway thinks it’s a winter town, but Midway is a fall town… Swiss Days is kind of the start of it, and we’re at the end of the ‘yellow brick road’ for leaf peeping. We were slammed when we first opened.” Matt muses about the infamous waiting culture that’s so prevalent at restaurants, “You’re waiting for a table, sitting down, waiting for a server, waiting for a drink, waiting to order, and waiting for your food.” The Pizza Yard jumps all these hurdles by offering a counter service and open seating, their only holdup he foresees is the additional prep needed for ingredients. They are brainstorming ideas for the busy summer months, which they imagine will be an order of magnitude busier than when they first opened their doors. Aspirationally, they would bring a second oven outside and serve margarita pizzas, majorly cutting down on prep time; any other variety of pizza could, of course, be ordered inside. They also hope to furnish guests with picnic blankets and point them towards Midway Centennial Park, about 100 feet away from the store, and then deliver pizzas to people enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. In addition to serving pizza, Matt is hoping to open their doors soon to a pizza-making class, where students would learn everything from how to make dough and sauce from scratch to how long to cook the pizza. He’s not worried about losing business this way; he’s excited about providing customers with a chance to have more intimate and fun pizza parties of their own.

As I finished my pizza, Matt shared with me how excited he is to be starting this journey, “It’s such a dream. I come in every day. I’m like, ‘I’m doing this! I made this’… The first time my girls came in… They pulled up to those stools right there. They’re little, they barely reach up to the counter, and I just looked at them. I teared up a little bit. You’re going to grow up here.”

I was so thrilled to meet Matt and his staff at The Pizza Yard, they’re such a friendly bunch, and it is the perfect place to make genuine connections and new friends, with the bonus of having the best margarita pizza I’ve ever had. Add that one to your tally, Matt.

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