It has been a minute, as some folks like to say, since Strictly Business appeared online and in the print edition. Of course, that was due to the coronavirus.
Just didn’t make sense writing about new businesses and restaurants opening when so many places were closed.
But as businesses have started to reopen, there’s news to report. We’re back.
Last year, Fayetteville lost at least three independently owned and operated pizzerias.
It was a significant blow to the local pizza-lover’s gut.
Those restaurants included Tony’s Pizza, at 1820 Owen Drive in the Bordeaux Shopping Center, Tim’s Pizza Place, at 2734 Bragg Blvd. in the Eutaw Village East shopping center, and Primo Pizza & Italian Eatery on Raeford Road.
Primo Pizza had been in business for 21 years, but it closed before being replaced by a Panera Bread franchise.
Well, Fayetteville pizzaheads, here’s some good news that could put some pep (as in pepperoni) in your step … and stomach.
Two new pizza places have opened in town since late spring, both in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The independently owned Slice of Italy has replaced former tenant Tim’s Pizza Place in the same spot in Eutaw Village. The business operates near Carlie C’s IGA in the shopping center.
Slice of Italy started serving customers on May 7.
On Aug. 1, the chain outlet Papa Murphy’s — a franchisee of Papa Murphy’s International — opened near one end of the Tallywood Shopping Center that’s anchored by Publix. It’s the first for Fayetteville proper, although the Hope Mills area already had a location in Traemoor Village Shopping Center, across from Jack Britt High School.
Truth be told, Slice of Italy actually gives patrons a slice of New York-style pizza.
“I only eat New York-style pizza,” said Marybeth Bronscheera, who owns the business with two other partners. Her brother, Gregory Campana, and Kemo Benjamin round out the ownership group.
She and her husband ran a Slice of Italy restaurant in Hope Mills in a shopping center off Main Street from 2003 to 2007.
After that, she went to work for Amtrak, serving as a railroad conductor in the New York City area. “That’s the farthest ever from restaurants for me,” she said from a table inside the Eutaw Village pizzeria.
“I felt like I needed to get back to something,” Bronscheera said.
Initially, the owners had hoped to be up and running in March, but the coronavirus stalled those plans.
Currently, the menu is limited. They decided to downsize, concerned about any uncooked food during the epidemic. Salads and cold subs are not available, but Bronscheera said they will be added down the line.
“I don’t know enough about the virus right now,” she said. “Those are products I would end up throwing out.”
Besides the pizza, Slice of Italy serves up stromboli and Philly cheesesteaks. They make their own meatballs, and Bronscheera prepares a fresh pot of marina sauce each week — just enough to get them through six days.
The establishment is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It’s closed on Sundays.
“If they like New York-style,” she said, “they’ll love this. He (restaurant pizza maker Romeo Plourde) makes really good pizza. Customers will say, ‘Give me just one slice.’ Then they come back and order a whole pizza.”
Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza features a unique spin on the lucrative pizza sector of the food industry: It offers build-your-own takeaway pizzas, to be cooked at home.
It’s a company signature: The pizza is not cooked and served in-house.
This take-and-bake pizza company, which began in 1995 following the merger of Papa Aldo’s Pizza and Murphy’s Pizza, is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington.
The company and its franchisees operate more than 1,300 restaurants in the United States and Canada.
Waterman Acquisitions of Atlanta owns the Tallywood franchise and 14 others.
Area supervisor Ben Pate said Thursday that Papa Murphy’s “may be the perfect option” during the COVID-19 scare.
“The safety of our customers is No. 1,” he said from the pizza outlet. “We made sure the location is safe. Amidst this pandemic, we were able to open a new location. The only one who ever touches it is you (after being prepared and packaged). We wanted to bring a new location on Raeford Road.
“We want people to know we’re a safe pizza option,” Pate said.
The outlet is closing temporarily at 8 p.m. on a daily basis. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
Every Tuesday, Papa Murphy’s offers a $10 large pizza, and Friday is $5 Friday for a thin crust cheese, pepperoni or sausage pie.
Gluten-free and keto-friendly pizza crusts are available, too.
Active-duty military, veterans, law enforcement and firefighters receive 20% off their purchase.
“Everything here is made fresh every day,” restaurant general manager Jay Harbour said. “We shred our own cheese, roll and sheet the pizza dough, and cut our own vegetables. We get fresh produce. The customers order what they like.
“They take it home,” he said, “and cook it.”
See something sprouting up or closing down around town? Have tips, questions or comments for Strictly Business? Contact staff writer Michael Futch at [email protected] or 910-486-3529.