For foodies in the know, Thursday nights have been reserved for pie and cider in Downtown Mesa when Myke Olsen slings his “I can’t believe this was made in a table-top oven” pizzas outside veteran-owned Cider Corps.
Starting in March, the power combo of craft cider and pop-up pizzeria will be under one roof with a build out that lets both produce even more of what the people are craving.
Cider Corps is converting the 2,000 square foot space next to the cidery to accommodate additional production equipment and a new bottling line. The expanded facility will include 10 new fermenters that will allow Cider Corps to produce four times as much craft cider for distribution to restaurants, bars and package stores around the state.
The fermentation equipment will range in capacity from 12–30 barrels that will give Cider Corps flexibility not just to meet demand for its cider but also experiment with fermentation styles and techniques. With the on-site bottling line, all styles Cider Corps releases on tap will also be available for immediate take away by the bottle.
“We’re excited to have the ability to provide our cider not just to craft beverage bars but also to more restaurants and package stores,” said Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.
In addition, Cider Corps is also growing outside. It is adding a patio space along the loading-dock style doors facing Robson Street. The space will seat about 40 people.
Cider making started as a hobby for brothers Josh and his brother Jason Duren (Sgt, USMC, Ret.) when Jason was recovering from traumatic brain injuries suffered in service. They opened Cider Corps on Veteran’s Day in November 2017 in a historic building in Downtown Mesa offering craft ciders in a range of flavors. They served more than 2,600 pints on opening day and the popularity of their cider hasn’t slowed since. In 2018, Cider Corps produced about 40,000 gallons served in its taproom and at dozens of locations around the state.
While Cider Corps typically has food trucks outside the cidery, the expansion presented an opportunity for one of those food concepts to evolve. Myke’s Pizza will move from a single oven pop-up to a full fast-casual restaurant located inside Cider Corps. The build-out for the restaurant is still taking place and is expected to be completed by mid-March.
Myke Olsen started a pop-up pizza stand in Mesa in 2016 and has a cult following of fans who patiently wait as each pie is made one at a time in a table-top oven. Now, Olsen and business partner and co-owner Manoly Kladovasilakis will craft the pizzas in a Renato wood-fire oven that can bake about five pizzas at a time. The restaurant will be located inside the Cider Corps taproom where people can order at the counter to enjoy inside the cidery or to take away. In the short term, Myke’s menu of six pizzas will remain the same with prices for the pies ranging from $10 – $14. Eventually, Olsen and Kladovasilakis plan to expand the menu to include side dishes and salads.
Duren explains the partnership was a natural fit with what he and Jason envisioned for Cider Corps.
“When we started Cider Corps, we wanted the taproom to be a place where people could gather to honor great sacrifice and discover great cider,” he said. “What we also discovered was an amazing culinary community that’s committed to showing off what’s local to our state.“
“By joining with Myke and Manoly, we’re broadening what the taproom is known for and bringing attention to what Arizona is becoming known for — a destination for craft beverage and craft food. We hope it will elevate the experience for everyone.”
Cider Corps has extended its hours for Spring Training and is open Monday – Thursday from 11 am – 11 pm; Friday – Saturday from 11 am – midnight; and Sundays from 10 am – 6 pm.
During the expansion build out, Myke’s Pizza will be open from 5-9pm Wednesday – Thursday, and from 5-10pm Friday-Saturday. Eventually, the restaurant will expand hours to five days a week (Tuesday – Saturday).
When Myke’s Pizza is not open, Cider Corps will continue to bring in food trucks including Biscuit Freaks for its Sunday brunch from 10am – 2pm.