For pizza lovers across America, the debate over the two most famous slice styles, Chicago deep dish or thin and foldable New York style, has a long and heated history. But one restaurant is determined to settle the discussion under the same roof, and its coming to the greater Atlanta area later this year.
Two Cities Pizza Company, is slated to move into the 6,000-square-foot space at 3433 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd., in Suwanee. The goal is to open the location by late summer, co-founder and co-owner Zach Greves said during a phone interview with What Now Atlanta on Wednesday.
It’s very early on in the process, he said, they’ll likely get the keys to the building on Friday. They are looking to start the buildout process immediately and transition the building to a more dynamic space that fits their brand. The building has the potential to set itself apart, he said, and they have some unique ideas (still under wraps) that they want to incorporate.
The pizza brand currently has a location in Ohio, at 202 W. Main St., in Mason, just outside Cincinnati.
Often named the “Best Pizza in Cincinnati” as well as other awards and accolades, Two Cities Pizza Company aims to bring that quality to Suwanee, and wherever else they may expand to in the future. Taking it one step at a time, the company is considering more locations, but they want to do it right, Greves said.
“We’re really proud of it and we’re ready to bring to another market,” Greves said. “We want to be diligent at creating the right atmosphere for everyone in Suwanee.”
In Suwanee, they’ll focus on dine-in services at first and then likely add in delivery after a few months.
At their Ohio location, they’ve been too busy with the dine-in customers to add delivery. They don’t have the room for enough ovens to accommodate all the orders just yet, Greves said, but they are currently planning on converting an area of the building into more kitchen space in order to double their oven capacity and add delivery. They already have the classic Chicago and New York yellow taxis ready to do the delivering.
The Suwanee location will be very similar in menu offerings and décor as the Ohio original, but there will be a few differences, Greves said. It will be an updated menu, but the core of what they do, offering top notch Chicago and New York style pizza, will always be the focus.
Greves and his fellow co-founder and co-owner, Sean Spurlock, knew they wanted to expand to more than one location at some point, but wanted to do it carefully and in the right city.
“We wanted to bring our concept to other communities,” Greves said. “Georgia, and Atlanta specifically, is pretty much the hub of the south. Through researching the pizza scene here, we thought it would be an excellent market to bring the New York and Chicago experience.”
They also have friends, family, and busines contacts in the area, he added, so it was at the top of their list when considering a second location.
“There’s something special about the south when it comes to food and the culinary experience,” he said. “That really put Atlanta on our radar.”
Residents want really good food, but also a good experience while dining, Greves said. It needs to be more than just a food for money transaction, he added.
It was a perfect match for their Two Cities Pizza concept.
Since opening about four years ago, Greves and Spurlock have been developing the brand and building a loyal customer base. They are always growing and improving, Greves said.
Greves and Spurlock are both originally from the Cincinnati area. They always dreamed of going into business together before both heading off to college, Greves in Tennessee and Spurlock in New York.
During a break when they were both back home, the pair headed to Chicago and ended up eating at a pizzeria. There was some banter about which style of pizza, Chicago deep dish or the foldable New York variety, was better.
“We quickly kind of stumbled upon the idea… of a place where people can go to decide,” Greves said. “It was so fun being in Chicago when the idea struck us.”
After some searching, they couldn’t find a restaurant that offered authentic styles from both cities under one roof.
“We set out to create the best New York and Chicago style,” he said.
And with Ohio being somewhat between the two cities, it seemed like a good fit to start their idea in their home state.
They found the perfect fit their first location, Greves said. It’s an old art deco style building constructed in 1939 that used to be the city hall for the town of Mason. The dining room was an old fire station, the bathrooms are where the jail was previously, and the kitchen is the old sheriff’s office.
“It’s really awesome,” Greves said. “We thought it was a great location for a concept that is so city-centric. There’s not a better spot than an old city hall building.”
While the national trend seems to favor the thin, foldable New York style, it’s split pretty evenly down the middle at the Two Cities Pizza Company, among guests and the co-founders.
Although he goes back and forth (depending on his mood), Greves leans toward Chicago style while Spurlock leans toward New York style.
Now, more than just the fun debate over the two cities, their pizza company has “created a bridge” between the two, Greves said.
“(Every night), almost every table has a New York style on it and a Chicago on it,” he said. “It’s cool to see both styles represented… at the same dinner table.”