With an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for pizza, Omaha brothers Scott and Matt Egermayer are carving out their own slice of the pie at Lighthouse Pizza.
When the two Westside High School graduates decided to open a pizza shop together, they wanted to put their own twist on this classic, universally loved dish and set their independent business apart from other spots in the city’s ever-growing pizza scene.
“There’s a hundred pizza places in Omaha alone. That’s something we’re mindful of,” Matt says. “We want to show people how unique we can be.”
Embracing a concept that goes beyond the whole-pie-only, sit-down pizza joint, the siblings opened Lighthouse Pizza in April 2012 at 74th and Pacific streets. It’s geared toward pizza lovers who want to customize their slices and have it piping-hot and ready in minutes without leaving their car.
“The whole idea of drive-thru pizza by the slice—we didn’t understand why no one had done it,” Matt, 30, said.
The fast-casual restaurant attracts a diverse lunch, dinner, and late-night crowd of employees from nearby offices, college students, and families from the neighborhood. It’s also popular with the post-bar crowd and other night owls on the weekend when it stays open until 3 a.m.
“It’s been an extremely positive experience for both of us,” Matt says, “and it’s been a fun process for us to problem-solve.”
Among the problems they encountered in the first six months of business: inconsistent slices that were burned or undercooked, and customer dissatisfaction with pizza ingredients. The Egermayers installed a new pizza oven and changed their sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
The adjustments, Matt says, have resulted in pizza he’s proud to serve and one that customers enjoy. In addition to pizza (whole or by the slice), Lighthouse serves wings, salads, and French fries.
Offered with a variety of toppings, the fries are part of the restaurant’s new “Pies and Fries” concept, which the Egermayers introduced in mid-July. Thick, natural-cut fries are topped with a variety of ingredients, including pulled pork, blue cheese crumbles, truffle oil, roast chicken, coleslaw, beef brisket, and assorted sauces. There’s also a version of poutine, a French-Canadian snack of fries, cheese curds, and gravy.
Opening a restaurant together was an idea that Matt and Scott had talked about for several years. They sought advice from a cousin who works as a chef consultant and decided to give it a go. Working in a family business has been extremely rewarding for the pair. The two have always been close, and they work great as a team, Scott says. “It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of.”
Each brother has a different role in the business. Scott, 25, oversees the kitchen, while Matt handles the financial side and customer service. Before opening Lighthouse Pizza, Scott was an architecture student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Matt worked as an attorney in Hawaii.
“We both love pizza a lot,” says Matt. “You want to get into something you love.”
1004 S. 74th Plz.
Omaha, NE 68114