BY Gregory Hall
Lotsa pizza will reach Franklin Street in April
Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, the restaurant taking over Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro's old location at the corner of North Columbia and Franklin streets, is looking to open in mid-to-late April.
Lotsa first opened on West Virginia University's campus in Morgantown in 2015. They currently have six locations around the country. Five are near college campuses, with the most recent opening at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Anthony DiGangi, the chief operating officer of Lotsa’s parent company Colmont Restaurant Group LLC, said the restaurant has had a lot of success in these college towns, and they’re very excited for the Chapel Hill location.
“The response has been great," DiGangi said. "I think the quality of the product, the hours we’re open and the economics that go into it work well for college students because we’re open an hour after the bars close."
Lotsa plans to be open until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and until 11 p.m. during the rest of the week.
DiGangi said Chapel Hill seemed like a natural fit and that the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets is a great location.
“We typically look for schools that have a large late-night presence and bar scene, as well as strong D1 teams, whether it’s a basketball or football program," DiGangi said. "That’s our focus, and it works well with us."
This will be Franklin Street’s ninth pizza shop, but DiGangi said he welcomes the competition and believes Lotsa stands apart from the other restaurants.
“We feel we’re different enough and we feel that we have a high-quality product that is quick, fun and we have a nice atmosphere,” DiGangi said. “We feel our concept is fairly new and exciting, and it’s healthy to have competition.”
Tasha Reidenbach, a student at Towson University in Maryland, said she loves the Lotsa near her campus.
“It’s really convenient, the food is good and it’s cheap,” Tasha said. “It’s more personal and the way they cook it with them putting it in the oven, it’s just better quality pizza.”
DiGangi said part of Lotsa's appeal is its stone fired rotating oven that cooks each personal pizza in three minutes. He said this, along with the fact that people can get meals for under $10, makes Lotsa a perfect place to go in-and-out quickly.
“We’re really excited to join the community, we feel it’s a great product for a great price, it’s fun since the oven is a unique rotating stone oven and a really cool centerpiece to the restaurant,” DiGangi said.
Zeynep Balto, another student at Towson University, appreciates the general atmosphere of the restaurant.
"The environment of the restaurant is really inviting because they have couches and TVs set up," Zeynep said. "It's a fun place for people to go, eat a pizza and hangout."
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