Silver Beach Pizza serves up hot pizza, cold brews in St. Joe

Published 3:20 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

Jay Costas, one of three owners of Silver Beach Pizza, was inspired to open the restaurant by a perfect ice-cold schooner of beer. Photo by Bryan Clapper


One of St. Joseph’s most popular restaurants owes its existence to a perfect, frosty glass of beer.

Jay Costas, one of three owners of Silver Beach Pizza, was on vacation eight years ago and needed to get away from the hectic house he was sharing with seven other people. He took one of the rental cars to a local bar, sat down and ordered a beer.

“The bartender reaches into a chest freezer and pulls out a schooner and fills it with draught beer and sets it in front of me,” Costas said. “It started fogging and icing up, and I just stared at it. I downed it and I went back and got the other three guys, and I said, ‘You gotta see this beer.'”

For the rest of the vacation and for a year after, Costas and his friends would frequently talk about, “opening a place somewhere, sometime, where we could serve beer to people like that. It was all about the schooner,” he said.

It was mostly idle chitchat among guys for the most part, but when he and his brother were introduced to The Mellow Mushroom in Asheville, N.C., while visiting their ailing mother, the lightbulb finally turned on for good.

“I saw how cool a pizza place could be,” he said.

By August 2005, Silver Beach Pizza had opened in the old depot building at the base of St. Joseph’s bluff, just a few hundred yards from Lake Michigan.

The building had been mostly vacant for the last three years, except for being used during the Venetian Festival, and the city was hoping to see a full-time restaurant using the space.