Rally Pizza at The Mill has opened its indoor space after more than a year of takeout-only service. Owners Shan Wickham and Alan Maniscalco have also added lunchtime hours with a new sandwich menu featuring Sicilian-inspired muffulettas.
The indoor space will look a bit sparser than it did before the shutdowns.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wickham and Maniscalco laid off servers because there wasn’t enough work to keep them on staff while the restaurant was takeout only. A year later, many of their former employees have moved on to sell real estate, gone back to school or left the area. Hiring new employees has been difficult because every other restaurant is drawing from the same shrinking staffing pool to reopen their indoor spaces at full capacity.
“The only thing that keeps us from opening all the way is not enough people,” Wickham said. “Last year, it was toilet paper now it’s staffing.”
As part of the reopening, Rally Pizza will add back lunch hours. Lunch will be served Monday through Friday from noon to 3 p.m., with a new menu featuring muffuletta sandwiches. (The new muffuletta menu starts Tuesday.) Pizzas are available after 3 p.m.
Maniscalco, also a chef, has made these Sicilian-inspired sandwiches at home for many years. Rally Pizza, 8070 E. Mill Plain Blvd., In Vancouver, offered them as a special for the Super Bowl this year and sold over 100 sandwiches in five hours. Adding them for lunch seemed like a good option for quicker lunch service.
“Our lunch business was never going gangbusters like we wish it was,” Wickham said.
The sandwich menu includes a vegan sandwich with fried chickpea fritters and pesto called the Chickwich and a classic Italian meat-laden option with salami, mortadella, spicy coppa, aged provolone and fontina named the Meat-Cute. All sandwiches come on Rally’s own sesame semolina buns. Ingredients include high-quality products from places such as Olympia Provisions and Cow Bell Cheese Shop.
Half the menu is vegan. Salads, small plates, cocktails and desserts are also available. Lunch is counter service only.
Due to the limited staffing, Rally Pizza hasn’t reinstituted their reservation system through Open Table. For now, indoor and outdoor seating are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.