The Mount Vernon BYOB pizza cafe Iggies has been sold.
The business was purchased from longtime owners Lisa Heckman and Peter Wood by Jim Pak, a retired pharmacist. Pak took over the operations at Iggies on July 22, but Wood will remain on board as a consultant for one month.
Heckman opened the Calvert Street cafe in December 2005, shortly after the closing of Soigne, her memorable Fort Avenue collaboration with chef Edward Kim.
Heckman was joined at Iggies by Wood in early 2007. The couple were married a short time after.
Pak, who lives in Howard County, said he had been looking for a restaurant opportunity when a business broker told him to check out Iggies. That was about 18 months ago.
"The pizza was awesome and the ambience was even better," Pak said.
Pak said he tried then making a deal for Iggies but another party had already made an offer. When that deal fell through, about a year later, Pak renewed his pursuit of Iggies.
"Iggies will be Iggies," Pak said. "I'll not change a thing. My wife won't tolerate my changing it."
The specialty at Iggies is hand-crafted pizza, made with imported flour and topped with high-quality, often homemade, ingredients. Among the menu's popular pizza combinations are the Anatra Arrosta with roasted duck, dried tomato and olives, and the Pistacchio, with pistachios, roasted red onions and rosemary oil.
"He's a really nice guy," Wood said of the new owner, adding that the only disagreement he and Pak have is about changes to Iggies.
"I keep telling him, 'Jim, you gotta make it your own. Don't worry about doing things exactly the way we did them,'" Wood said.
Wood said he and Heckman have not planned their next move.
"My wife has so many talents," Wood said. "She created Iggies out of a garage and she created Soigne out of a hole in the wall. Whatever she comes up with to do, I'll say OK."
In 2012, Heckman and Wood announced that they were moving Iggies to the Riderwood Station shopping center in Towson, but ended up staying in Mount Vernon.
"I was just time to take a deep breath," Wood said when asked why he and Heckman sold Iggies.
Wood said that the couple wanted to leave the business while it was still doing well.
"I had a friend who'd say that the old [New York] Yankees always got rid of their players [what seemed like] a year too soon," Wood said. "And it was always a smart move."