CEDAR FALLS — The Other Place on the Hill recently finished an extensive interior remodel this winter, but Troy Stedman and Brian White want longtime customers to know one thing:
The pizza ovens remain untouched.
That’s the question the two have fielded the most during the months-long remodel of The OP, at 2214 College St., asked by nervous customers wanting to be reassured.
“That was a huge factor,” White, regional director of The OP, said Monday inside the revamped restaurant. “They want The OP pizza to be the same as before.”
Everything else, however, has undergone a top-to-bottom remodel from November until last week, when the College Hill restaurant reopened.
Last remodeled 30 years ago, after a small fire in the fall of 1988, The OP looks completely different inside — starting with the entrance, which now funnels patrons to the left and directly into the relocated, larger bar area.
“I wanted the bar to be more prominent — it needed a bigger presence,” Stedman, The OP’s co-owner in charge of new store development, said. “So we doubled the number of bar seats.”
Seating for the restaurant side includes tables and booths like before, albeit brand-new ones. A new, hardwood floor and a fresh coat of red paint on the tin ceiling breathe new life into the space.
“We’re sad to see the old place go, but it’s a much-needed, fresh look,” White said.
Other elements of the remodel hearken back to The OP’s 1970s days. Period-specific metal beer signs, including a large one near the entrance, hang on reclaimed barn wood. Lighted beer displays also dot the interior, and longtime customers will recognize some of them. The stained-glass bar doors and stair rails also were repurposed from the old place.
The kitchen hasn’t changed, and neither has the back entrance, with the exception of widening the doorway to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. New duct work also snakes around the ceiling.
It was important to keep the old with the new for Stedman, whose family bought the restaurant in the mid-1970s.
“I’m very happy with how it’s turned out,” he said. “We were trying to find a balance between a ’70s feel and a modern feel, and combine that.”
And though the pizza ovens and pizza remain the same, customers will notice four new sub sandwiches and three new specialty pizzas — the Smokehouse, a barbeque-inspired meatlover; the Maui, a take on a Hawaiian pizza; and The Alamo, a spicy option for those seeking some heat.
The OP will continue its karaoke Wednesdays and is adding a trivia night Thursday evenings, catering to University of Northern Iowa students and faculty, who are among its biggest customers.
“It was much overdue,” Stedman said, as customers milled around during the lunch hour Monday. “It’s the next chapter in The OP on the Hill.”