Rockford Brewing owners plan pizza pub

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Malph’s Pizza Pub, created by the owners of Rockford Brewing Co., will take the place of Vitale’s Pizza of Rockford by spring of 2023. Rendering courtesy Rockford Brewing Co.

A new pizzeria, distillery and brewery will open inside a historic building in downtown Rockford following an extensive restoration.

Malph’s Pizza Pub, created by the owners of Rockford Brewing Co., will take the place of Vitale’s Pizza of Rockford by spring of 2023.

“We are excited to honor the labor of love of ‘all things pizza’ that Terry Prowoznik has delivered over the years at Vitale’s,” said Seth Rivard, co-owner of Rockford Brewing Company and now Malph’s Pizza Pub.

The owners launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $15,000 and are inviting the community to help support restoration of the building, portions of which date to 1866. Rewards for supporting the Kickstarter range from a bottle of Malph’s Umami Mommy Hot Sauce and make-at-home pizza kits, to free pizzas for a year and a pizza party for 20 when Malph’s opens.

As of Friday morning, the campaign received $5,616 toward the $15,000 goal with 30 backers and 27 days left for the campaign.

The remodeled 5,764-square-foot space will offer substantial seating, including two separate bars and gorgeous views of the historic Rogue River Dam and downtown Rockford. Building plans also feature expansive outdoor seating complete with a large beer garden patio and an elevated deck.

Malph’s menu will continue to feature some of the favorite recipes from the past 43 years along with a host of new items already being developed by the RBC culinary team.

Malph’s Pizza Pub takes its name from RBC’s easy-drinking Malph’s Premium Beer, a throwback to the lager styles popular in the post-war era. Malph also was Rivard’s childhood nickname.

“When we first opened RBC, we didn’t have our own kitchen. We established a strong relationship with neighboring Vitale’s, offering their pizza to RBC guests before our own kitchen opened,” Rivard said. “We learned over time that there was still a strong demand and a separate demographic for the pizza and beer combo, and it was just a natural move for us. Malph’s fits our vision of naturally growing in our beloved hometown of Rockford with new products, offerings and experiences, and avoids the risks, clichés and complications of attempting to duplicate what we are doing in other cities.”

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