MARIETTA - Mariettans for years have begged Mike Ruscitto to open a Pizza Place in this river city.
The timing is finally right, he said, and the pizzeria will open in three months at 231 Second St. where Daydreams Cafe was located until it moved to Putnam Street last fall.
"We knew we had a client base there (in Marietta) and I have a real good crew that wants to move forward in the industry," Ruscitto, the owner of the restaurant, said.
Jeff Bailey, a pizza maker at the Pizza Place at the Grand Central Mall, hoists a pie for the oven. The well-known pizzeria is opening a shop in Marietta. (Photo by Jess Mancini)
The restaurant's menu will be very similar to that of the Pizza Place in the food court at the Grand Central Mall, he said, although there will be some salads offered in the Marietta restaurant that aren't offered in the mall. "Primarily the product is the pizza," Ruscitto said.
Folks will be able to get whole pizzas or single slices of pizza, with thick or thin crust and a variety of toppings. Although there will not be pasta on the menu, Ruscitto said there could be occasionally be a "pasta night" when customers will be able to order spaghetti or other types of pasta. Hours of operation for the restaurant have not yet been established.
There will be seating for more than 100 people, Ruscitto said, and since the restaurant will be centrally located, deliveries will be made to Marietta and Devola addresses.
"It's central to the college and the business district...it's pretty convenient," he said.
Charlotte Keim, president of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, said she's glad to hear that a vacant building in downtown will soon be filled and that folks will have another dining option.
"There was a study done in 1999 or 2000 and it said one of the things we could use more for this community is restaurants," she said. "Money was leaving the community and going other places for restaurants."
Keim added that she knows folks are excited for the restaurant to open, because for weeks her office has been getting phone calls from people who heard that it was opening in Marietta.
"I think they have a big following. I think that'll be good for them, because they have a lot of fans," she said.
Marietta resident Dacia Radabaugh, 29, said she is excited for the restaurant to open, especially since she only lives a few streets over from where it will be.
She said she has good memories of going to the Pizza Place restaurant in the mall when she was younger.
"We'd always be at the toy store, then the Pizza Place. It was a special place to go and it was something you'd look forward to," Radabaugh said.
Ruscitto said he and a business partner opened a Pizza Place restaurant in the Grand Central Mall in 1976 and it eventually moved into the food court. A second Pizza Place restaurant opened on Dudley Avenue in Parkersburg in 1979 and a third restaurant opened on the southside of Parkersburg in 1981.
The Pizza Place was opened in 1985 in the Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport, W.Va., and in 1990, a restaurant was opened in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
"At one point there were five partners," Ruscitto said, noting that the Myrtle Beach store has since closed.
Ruscitto added that he owns the Pizza Place in the Grand Central Mall and he will also own the Pizza Place in Marietta.
He said there will be about 15 people working at the new restaurant. Applications will be available at 231 Second St. in a few weeks. "The actual hiring process will be four to six weeks down the line," Ruscitto said.