Adam Sweet, a former punk rock bassist covered in tattoos, said he now spends many evenings serving pizza to groups of sorority girls.
Sweet opened King Dough, a woodfire pizza joint located at 108 W Sixth St., just seven months ago. The restaurant has since played host to a handful of rock shows, including one Saturday that featured local bands Laffing Gas, Manneqin and Buttzz.
He said the demographic of customers at King Dough ranges from sorority and fraternity members to “crusty punk kids,” but it’s still funny to think of how much his life has changed since his days playing in punk bands himself.
A few years ago, Sweet was working for a restaurant group called Yellow Rocket Concepts in Little Rock, Arkansas, which often played host to rock shows just like King Dough does, he said.
“I worked my way up over there from dishwasher to business partner,” he said.
Soon, he said he decided to move to Bloomington and try a similar business venture himself.
“It was terribly stupid and reckless, but it worked out,” he said.
Since opening King Dough, Sweet said he’s been so busy he’s barely had the time to set foot outside of the shop, but as a music fan, he said he loves being able to showcase local bands.
“Pizza is definitely a unifier of people in general, but definitely in the rock ‘n’ roll scene,” he said. “It’s kind of like bread and butter with it.”
One of his employees, Trevor Moore, plays bass in local genre-hopping band Jeron Braxton & the Tomagochis and helps Sweet with booking local talent.
The shows at King Dough are held in the bar, which can make small crowds seem large because of its tight spacing, Sweet said.
“It’s kind of a cool room,” Moore said. “Since it’s so small, it’s really intimate.”
Shows at King Dough usually bring in a crowd of about 20 to 40 people, Sweet said. Since there’s no stage, the band and crowd rub up against each other.
“The energy is kind of transferrable from the crowd to the band and vice versa,” he said. “The more everybody’s having fun, the more fun the band is having.”
Jeron Braxton, of Jeron Braxton & the Tomagochis, said he enjoyed the chill vibe at the restaurant during his band’s performance there, and the pizza was an obvious plus.
“The people who work at King Dough are really cool people, and the atmosphere there is cool,” he said.
Moore said he’s in the process of booking another show at King Dough in May.
Sweet said the reception he’s gotten from the city has been wonderful, and he hopes to keep booking local DIY talent.
“It’s just cool to have a place where we can basically take care of bands that we like that may not actually have a venue to play in Bloomington,” he said.
Even though Bloomington offers a plethora of pizza places, Sweet said he thinks the music and woodfire style of pizza King Dough offers distinguish it from places like Mother Bear’s and Aver’s.
“I don’t think we really fall in line with what they’re doing besides the fact that we make bread and throw stuff on top of it like they do,” he said.