There's a buzz at Hive Pizza, and it's not just about bees. It's the buzz of community, the driving force behind one of Baton Rouge's newest eateries.
"The main hive idea is a place for people to come together, and the whole idea behind the concept is trying to create a place where people just want to be," said Brad Mire, one of the owners. "You come and be you, and we'll be us, and we'll just be in this space together."
That togetherness even extends to the area where you sit until your pie is ready.
"Waiting is one of those awkward things where you don't know where to sit while you wait for your pizza," Mire said. "So we built this stadium place where you can sit and kind of gather. A lot of people take pictures there. The kids love it.
While the Hive is about gathering in the bright blue building at 6166 Siegen Lane, that's not to say bees don't play a part. The restaurant's design is definitely a little buzzy, with a hive-shaped oven and honeycomb wall décor. But it doesn't stop there.
"Hot honey is one of our featured toppings," Mire said. "It's something that goes on your pizza when it comes out of the oven, and it's spiced honey, not a warm honey. There is going to be a little bit of heat when you eat it."
Hive Pizza uses Mike's Hot Honey, which comes from Brooklyn, New York, and bills itself as "Honey with a Kick."
"They've really been trying to get into the pizza game, and it plays well with what we're doing," Mire said. "Honey on a pizza is something that's growing in popularity, and we just wanted to put some gas on that. The Hot Honey pizza is easily one of our most popular pizzas."
The minute Paul Mier hits the door on Tuesday mornings, he starts cooking red beans and rice at Cajun Catch Restaurant & Boucherie.
It's an 11-inch pizza (as are all the pizzas) built on a base of spicy red sauce with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, chicken and jalapeño peppers with hot honey drizzle.
"The hot honey pizza is becoming our namesake," Mire said. "It's basically your supreme pizza you can find anywhere but the hot honey makes it a huge hit."
The Bar-Bee-Q, a pizza topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, chicken, onions and cilantro, also is popular.
Other customer favorites include the Sting, topped by white cream sauce, hot sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken, bacon and ranch dressing drizzle; and the Queen, a vegetarian pizza combining extra-virgin olive oil, goat cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, zucchini and garlic topped by a honey drizzle.
"They've all got their own niche," Mire said. "And if you don't want hot honey on your pizza, you can get regular honey or no honey at all. Or you can build your own."
Mire, along with co-owners Mitch Rotolo, Scott Henderson and Garrick Robert, collaborated on the menu. They also developed a special dough recipe for the quick, over-the-counter pizzas cooked in the hive-shaped oven. An automatic presser flattens the dough into an 11-inch pie.
"An 11-inch thin crust so cooks very quickly," Mire said. "We'll be rolling out a hand-tossed thicker version later, and we also have cauliflower and gluten-free crust."
Hive also has rotating logos for its pizzas projected on the floor, as well as a pizza-of-the-day projected on one of its menu boards.
"We're going to have staff creations, something we may have on the menu two days, three days, five days," Mire said. "It's going to be short runs of things, and we'll have an app that you can order from. The staff's pizzas will be playful, and you can find out what we're doing that day on social media, on the app or when you get in line."
Hive Pizza staffs 25 employees and can seat 70 people when pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Now that the restaurant is up and running, expansion is on the horizon.
"We think we have a concept that can evolve from here," Mire said. "The goal is to grow."