Another gourmet pizzeria has entered the Columbus market with aggressive expansion plans for the next several years.
Gratzi a Tutti opens for business today, Thursday, June 12, at 10705 Blacklick-Eastern Road in Pickerington. It takes over a portion of a shopping center near the Marcus Theater.
Executive chef Todd Wallace said the restaurant will serve as a template for four to five more pizzerias in central Ohio. Another one is already in development in Reynoldsburg, but details were limited.
He said the Gratzi a Tutti is owned by the R.L. Group LLC.
The large, open space features dark earth tones, stone and brick, with large flat-screen TVs in the bar and dining room, along with a fireplace.
"To me it's upper-scale decor, but the price point is for everyone," Wallace said.
The centerpiece of the kitchen, in full view of the dining room, is the gas-assisted, wood-fired pizza oven, which will be cranking out pies every five minutes, he said.
To accomplish that, Wallace has developed a hand-tossed dough recipe that uses a thin crust with a raised edge in the style of New York pizzas.
Gratzi a Tutti, the tweaked spelling of a phrase meaning "thank you everyone" in Italian, has designed 14 signature pizzas, from the roasted Portobello with fontina cheese and truffle oil to another option topped with prosciutto, mozzarella, basil and fresh arugula.
The restaurant gives patrons an opportunity to build their own pies. On a related note, stromboli also are offered.
The menu includes burgers, made with certified Black Angus, and Italian hero sandwiches, such as the prime rib option, using fresh-roasted, thinly sliced beef served with horseradish sauce and a cup of au jus.
The restaurant offers three scratch-made soups -- loaded baked potato, chili and a soup of the day -- plus salads, starters and chicken wings slathered in homemade sauces. Fries and potato chips are fresh cut.
Gourmet pizzas are $13 to $20. Sandwiches are burgers are $8 to $10.
"There's no playing around," Wallace said. "This is going to be good quality food at a reasonable price."
Gratzi a Tutti seats 150 in the main dining room, 30 at the bar and another 65 on the patio.
The restaurant has a full liquor license and 15 beers on tap, six of which are dedicated to craft brews.
Wallace got his culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, S.C., a campus that no longer exists.
He worked in several cities before returning to Columbus, where he spent a majority of time with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants.
Competition in the gourmet pizza market has been ratcheted up in recent years, with the addition of relative newcomers Pizza Cucinova and Harvest, each with multiple locations; Pies & Pints, which has a second location planned for the Short North; and Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza, the only pizzeria in Columbus with a coal-burning oven.
Wallace said Gratzi a Tutti has a few things in its favor. For starters, there's a scarcity of upscale pizza in the southeast area of central Ohio.
And, the place is about more than pizza, he said.
"This is a unique concept, with the atmosphere, the sports, the good food," he said.
Gratzi a Tutti is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-694-0764.