…but we just hit two really good ones.
First Johnny’s, which is run by second generation pizzaman, John, Jr. His pops opened the shop in 1968 and handed it over in 1991. So you have a classic shop, great slices, family run, friendly staff, that’s been around for over 40 years…and what happens in 2007? Papa John decides to open one of his frozen pizza buffets directly next store.
“It was the same time that my dad passed away,” said John, Jr. “My dad passed away in July, and I found out they [Papa John’s] were moving in in July. They didn’t actually open up until October. So I already knew about it, but I didn’t tell my dad about it because he was in frail health already.”
So what did he do? “It made us evolve,” John told us. They got a website together, started taking orders online, and dutifully began waging a pizza cold war that persists today. I can report that while we were there, at least one Papa John’s employee came in for a slice.
But the real difference? “See, when someone comes in here and tells me they are short a couple bucks, I’ll help them out. That would never happen over there.”
Next we hit Grandma’s, up the street. There, you can chat with photogenic owner Benedetto, who took over this 45 year old shop a few years ago. Benedetto is a humble man.
“I’m not looking to be rich, I just want to make a living and enjoy my family,” said Benedetto. “That’s all I want. Today, you don’t get rich from owning a pizza shop. Before, a person with a pizza shop was able to accomplish many things. I just want to pay my bills.”
If taste is a currency, Benedetto is a wealthy man. He makes a banging grandma’s slice with marinara he learned to make looking over his own grandmother’s shoulder.