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Saturday, April 20, 2024

A Fresh Slice

Popular pizza shop near UE gets a new look

The Slice is getting its spice back.

Now owned by Tom Rehl, the pizza place at 2011 Lincoln Ave. near the University of Evansville has a new look to accompany its classic slice choices. Rehl has freshened things up with a brightened interior and big screens in The Slice’s back section, perfect for sports viewing.

By The Slice dates to 1994, although diners have long since dropped the first word. Last summer, founder Eric Weber was ready to move on — although Rehl asked him to hang around for a year to ease the transition.

Eric Weber

“He’s the one who taught me how to make all the pizzas,” Rehl says with a smile.

Rehl, for his part, never had designs on being a restaurant owner. He came to town in 1981 from his native Peru, Indiana, to the school now known as the University of Southern Indiana, where he ran cross country.

He studied public relations at USI but never went into that — he instead held other jobs, including a lengthy stay at beer wholesaler Working Distributors. Around the time Rehl says he was experiencing burnout at this job, Weber was feeling the same at The Slice.

After a meeting of the minds, Rehl bought not only The Slice, but its entire strip center on Lincoln, near Weinbach Avenue, that includes The Confectionery, Basket Kases Gift Shoppe, and Evansville Esports. Rehl has spun some changes at The Slice but says the most important things have stayed the same, starting with the pizza.

Standard slices remain, including the popular potato, ranch, and spinach pies. Rehl will rotate in a few others — chili and cheeseburger pizzas have been hits, he says.

Rehl streams UE basketball away games for Aces fans to watch. It’s a hangout for those coming to UE for campus theater productions and other events, and for Reitz Memorial High School basketball supporters.

Popular with UE students for years, Rehl says student traffic into The Slice has slowed; one of his priorities is getting it back. He feels completion of new student housing across Lincoln from the restaurant should help.

But Rehl says The Slice’s older, longtime fans are excited to see the shop reenergized, and the renovated back room is presenting event rental opportunities.

Prices remain $2.50 per slice. The eatery’s hours, too, have not changed: 11:16 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. For proof, just look at the glass front door.

Why 11:16 a.m.?

“It was just Eric,” Rehl says of Weber, his predecessor. “Eric has a quirky sense of humor.”

FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN

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