Franklin Street’s 10th pizza shop — Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza — will likely open this spring, replacing the Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro that closed in December.
This will be the eighth Lotsa location in the country and the first in North Carolina, said Anthony DiGangi, chief operating officer of Lotsa’s parent company Colmont Restaurant Group.
“We tend to look for schools with a nice downtown area and student population,” DiGangi said. “We felt that Chapel Hill was a good market for our brand.”
Lotsa specializes in build-it-yourself pizzas that cook in three minutes. Customers choose their dough, sauce and toppings while watching their pizzas pass down an assembly line into a stone fired oven of 800 degrees.
“Traditionally you go into a pizza place and wait 20 minutes,” DiGangi said. “This is a way to get a fresh pizza the way you want it.”
Steve Brantley, director of Orange County Economic Development, said his department looks forward to new businesses coming to downtown Chapel Hill.
“Chapel Hill and Carrboro are the largest population center in the county and have the largest draw of bringing people in to shop,” he said.
Restaurants in Orange County’s downtown areas help fight sales tax leakage, Brantley said. That's when residents go to neighboring counties to shop at malls and larger complexes instead of shopping locally.
This disparity results in other counties benefitting from sales taxes, which leaves less money for Orange County schools and local government needs.