The former Ruby Tuesday building on East State Street will get a refresh this summer as a family-friendly sit-down pizza restaurant.
The new Athens location of Pizza Cottage, 951 E. State St., will open in early June, Regional Manager Chad Dawson said. The restaurant sells an array of subs, salads, wings, pastas and, of course, pizzas. It will also be offering some alcoholic beverages. Pizza Cottage has a relaxed, family-friendly indoor dining space, but Dawson said he thinks the restaurant has an appeal to many people in the community.
“We're looking forward to trying to create a great atmosphere ... whether it's the college kids coming in for a quick bite or having an adult beverage, or if it's a family coming in to have a night out for dinner, or … the local baseball team or youth soccer team wants to come in and have a party room,” Dawson said.
Pizza Cottage offers a high-quality, traditional central Ohio pizza with a thin crust and toppings covering edge to edge. Prices are a little higher than most pizza establishments, Dawson said, but that is because of the higher-quality ingredients. A family of four can spend around $30 for a full meal, Dawson said.
“It's definitely not a cheaper product,” Dawson said. “It's something that we take a lot of pride in.”
A plain cheese pizza costs about $13 for 12 inches with thin crust, and a plain 12-inch cheese pizza with Sicilian crust — a thicker crust option — is around $15, according to the Pizza Cottage online ordering menu. Specialty pizzas with cauliflower crust can run upward of $27 for 14 inches. Other items, like salads, subs and pastas, generally cost around $5 to $13.
However, for some customers, the price is well worth it. Mallory Jones, a junior studying community and public health, is very excited about Pizza Cottage’s arrival to Athens.
“I love ... their BLT pizza,” Jones said. “If you like BLTs, you will definitely love that pizza. It's literally my favorite. I get it every time I go there.”
The BLT pizza is a bacon pizza featuring lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise with a second crust on top of it like a sandwich. It’s one of Pizza Cottage’s more niche items, Dawson said, but it has a following.
Once the restaurant is open, Jones said she thinks it will be a great place to go eat with her family when they visit her in Athens. Jones is also excited about having a broader array of restaurants in Athens.
Along with bringing another restaurant to the city, Dawson estimates that the new Pizza Cottage will bring about 50 or 60 new jobs to Athens, including servers, kitchen staff and delivery drivers. Pizza Cottage will be leasing the former Ruby Tuesday building, which is owned by Continental Properties based out of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. The property and building is worth about $1,172,000 in total, according to the Athens County Auditor website.
The Pizza Cottage chain started at a small location in Carroll, Ohio, but has since expanded to seven other locations across Ohio, including Newark, Pickerington, Zanesville and as of January, Powell, according to its website. The chain is now owned by Larry Tipton, who has experience with business in Athens. Tipton also owns the West Union Street Buffalo Wild Wings, Dawson said.
Dawson said Pizza Cottage hopes to come into the Athens area and form good ties with the people there while providing a quality product to the community.
“We're just looking for an opportunity to serve the Athens community — the students, the residents, everybody there — and we just want to bring a nice family atmosphere and a great quality pizza product to the area and just try to fit into the community and do what we can to help around there,” Dawson said.