COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The ovens are ablaze at a locally owned, New York-style pizza joint that prides itself on serving the best stromboli in town.
Pizzano’s Express, located at 804 Parsons Ave., opened its doors in early December to expand the reach of its halal, Italian-inspired dishes to Columbus’ South Side community, according to restaurant co-owner Abdullah Blata.
“We swear: For every person who comes in, we make them a fresh pizza every time. Usually 10 to 15 minutes – fresh pizza straight out of the oven,” said Blata, who has owned Pizzano’s original northeast side location on Cassady Avenue for nearly five years.
Complementing Pizzano’s first storefront, Pizzano’s Express will specialize on the basics: pizza, pasta and stromboli, Blata said. Visitors to the Cassady Avenue location, which is home to a larger kitchen and staff, can order from a wider range of options, including gyros, buffalo wings and fish dinners.
Since “everybody eats pizza,” Blata said business has been strong in the one month since the Dec. 6 inception of Pizzano’s Express. Customers can order delivery, take-out and catering.
Unlike Columbus-style pizza – thin crust and squarely-cut, according to Experience Columbus – Blata said Pizzano’s New-York style pies feature a medium-thick crust “with a little crunch to it” and “butter all over.”
Customers commonly order baked pasta coated in mozzarella and garlic-smothered breadsticks, but Blata said Pizzano’s delicately-crafted stromboli is the crown jewel of its menu.
“Nobody can make ‘em like us,” Blata said. “The way to take care of the quality, pack it up with ingredients, close it, brush this garlic spread over it, sprinkle some parmesan cheese, marinara sauce on the side. Put it in the oven, and you can’t get anything like that – no other stromboli in Columbus or Ohio is like this.”
Along with offering a handful of vegetarian and gluten-free items, Blata said Pizzano’s Express is “famous for not having pork.” Forbidden from eating the meat as a Muslim, Blata said Pizzano’s Express will continue to cater toward Columbus’ Islamic community.
“We saw there’s a market for that in Columbus – and probably everywhere in America right now,” he said. “For health reasons, religious reasons, if people don’t want to go buy or eat pork, they can think Pizzano’s.”
Blata said he and his fellow co-owners make it a mission to be physically present at both Pizzano’s locations every day to ensure the customers “always feels like they’re going to the right place, like they’re going home.”
“We’re part of the community just like we are at Cassady,” Blata said. “We work very close with everybody – the schools, the mosques, the churches. We’re gonna be the same on Parsons.”
Pizzano’s Express is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Sunday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.