This month’s One on One conversation took in music, where we are headed as a city, pizza and beer.
Jeff Bajalieh is a co-owner of Slice Pizza and Brew in the city’s Lakeview district and Sol’s deli downtown. In partnership with his brothers, Jason and Chris, and David Donaldson, Jeff grew up in the restaurant business watching his father run a deli for decades in the basement of the John Hand Building downtown.
After opening Sol’s in honor of his father in the Two North Twentieth building downtown, Jeff and his brothers created Slice, which specializes in pizza and Alabama-brewed beer, on 29th Street in Lakeview.
“Anybody can make a pizza. But if you’re looking for a true experience to accompany what we think is our unique twist on pizza, then you’ll find a new home at Slice. We keep our menu as fresh as our ingredients, so you’ll always have new things to try. We started Slice because we wanted a place not just to eat, but to hang out. We think no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’ll love our food and atmosphere,” Jeff says.
As part of Slice’s community outreach, the brothers created Slicefest, a music festival that turns Lakeview into a block party each June.
For Michael Bell, principal of the Modern Brand Company, the sense of community and relationships contained in an event such as Slicefest, ties in directly with what he does every day at his brand consultancy company.
Bell believes every company, big or small, has a personality. And, every company has a target audience. The key to branding is understanding what you have to offer your audience. Then relaying that offering in a clear, concise manner that is both relatable and relevant. It’s not smoke and mirrors … it’s a relationship, he says.
Bell and his team at Modern Brand have put those principles to work for clients as varied as Champions for Health, the obesity and tobacco use prevention effort, and Dyron’s Low Country restaurant in Mountain Brook.