MESA, AZ — In a world filled with restaurant chains, Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa stands out. It's a one of a kind place dishing out pizza with a side of music.
For years, Charlie Balogh sat high above patrons playing requests on the mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. This tradition ended suddenly when Balogh passed, but a new year brings a new tradition to the pizza joint.
Accomplished musician Brett Valliant will take over for Balogh. Valliant says, "when people hear what I'm doing, unless they've been here, it makes no sense to them."
Nonetheless, taking the gig was a no-brainer for Valliant. Organ Stop Pizza seats over 700 people and houses the largest Wurlitzer theatre organ in the world.
"It will play any kind of music you want it to play, every sound effect you can imagine on it. You are kind of a kid in a candy store with this thing," says Valliant about the Wurlitzer organ.
His predecessor played everything from jazz to pop. Valliant knew Balogh practically all his life. Now, he get's to play the esteemed Wurlitzer just like Balogh did and keep alive a tradition started in 1972, pizza and pipes.