Creamy Ranch Lady: Septuagenarian Serves Up Pizza Slices And Personality

There are three things you need to know about Judy Krause, septuagenarian, dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and co-owner of Slices on Mill.

“I’m 24—that’s the age of an entrepreneur,” she says, eyes twinkling. “I have the knees of a healthy, athletic 15-year-old girl.” But on the last point, she grows serious. “And I’m a happy person because I have God.”

She wields a cane these days. “It’s a bodacious cane,” she asserts, “because I’m high fashion”—but age has not slowed her down. Krause attributes that to her faith and her attitude: “Your attitude is your life.”

Judi Krause, co-owner of Slices on Mill. Photo by Angelica VanAuken

Judi Krause, co-owner of Slices on Mill. Photo by Angelica VanAuken

Krause would know. She’s needed faith and attitude to get her through a rough past. Now at the top of her game when most people her age are settling into their golden years, Krause invests her energy in running a successful pizza joint.

Krause flourished once she was able to put her past behind her. “I’ve learned to trust God completely,” she says, “and He has never let me down.”

After years as a bookkeeper for Slices on Mill’s predecessor (among other businesses) Krause and another Slices employee, Nate Cruz, jumped at the opportunity to buy the Mill Avenue Slices Pizza Joint location. Twenty years of business in a highly trafficked area near ASU had run the place down, so the duo painted and added new flooring, fixtures and decor. They reopened as Slices on Mill in March of 2019—and business is booming.

“It better be!” Krause laughs. “This is my retirement plan.”

Krause’s partner, Nate Cruz, is thirty years her junior and “the best partner I could hope for,” she says. “He treats me like his mother, and I treat him like my son.”

Krause manages the legal and bookkeeping aspects and Cruz runs the day-to-day. Krause has a special shirt that details exactly what she’s allowed to do inside the restaurant: “Creamy Ranch Lady.”

“Inside the restaurant, I’m only allowed to fill those ranch cups,” Krause jokes. “That, and I count the money.” This doesn’t bother Krause, who has a staff of great employees.

Slices on Mill offers East Coast-style pizzas with a variety of toppings, calzones, and a recent Friday night-only addition, lobster rolls. Bestsellers lean traditional (cheese and pepperoni). Personally, Krause recommends the potato and bacon pizza, but she stands by all her slices.

“It’s the crust,” she says. “It’s a bread dough. The crust is fantastic, and we only use Roma cheese.”

Slices on Mill offers great deals for ASU students and faculty—a $6.99 2 slice and drink combo—and they are regular features at tailgate parties.

When she’s not running her business, Krause indulges in her other passion: sports cars.

“I’m a muscle car girl,” she says. Her husband of 30 years is a mechanic, and Krause knows her way around a car, too. She points out the window at a cherry red Mustang: “That’s Roxy, the Little Red Hottie!”

Does Krause have any intention of slowing down in her old age?

“I’m 24,” she reminds me with a wink. “And I can’t. I’ve got football season!”

Visit Slices on Mill in Tempe at 11 E 6th St #102, or order from DoorDash, Grubhub or Uber Eats.

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