Not everyone is listening to doom and gloom about Michigan’s economy, especially not Pizza House owners, brothers Dennis and Matt Tice, who recently doubled the size of their restaurant at 618 Church Street in Ann Arbor.

“Our customers actually made the decision for us,” says Dennis. “We simply needed more space, and we were losing too many people, 50 to 80 people each week night alone and more on weekends, who didn’t want to wait for as long as an hour or more to be seated.”

The Tice brothers opened their first pizzeria in 1986, in an adjacent house on Church Street, which featured pizza deliveries and had seating capacity for only 20 customers.

In 1998, they moved across an adjacent parking lot to another building to open the 235-seat Pizza House. This year’s latest renovation and expansion now offers seating capacity for 450, six private dining rooms, 20 plasma TVs, a larger bar and waiting area along with more behind-the-scenes storage space and a new prep kitchen.

“We’re always listening to what our customers tell us, whether it’s related to the menu or service,” says Matt Tice. “As just one example, we’ve eliminated all trans-fat in our oils, and we’re continually evaluating new menu items.”

Known for serving the famous Chicago deep dish and traditional pizzas, the restaurant was recently voted “best pizza, best chipati, best salads and best restaurant” by the Michigan Daily Readership Poll.

While the restaurant’s seating capacity has doubled, the majority of sales have always come from Pizza House deliveries which are made throughout the University campus and Ann Arbor to as far as Saline and Ypsilanti for individual orders and for catered events.