A local development leader says New Albany is a prime location for a Mellow Mushroom pizzeria.
"Between the demographics and the residential growth in the community, New Albany is ready for another restaurant," said Bill Ebbing, president of the New Albany Co.
Ebbing said managers of the Rusty Bucket in Market Square have said 60 percent of the restaurant's clientele are from outside the 43054 ZIP code.
"That tells us we've become a destination, which was not the case before," Ebbing said.
Mellow Mushroom is one of the restaurants Ebbing had hoped would come to New Albany. The franchise, which was founded in 1974 in Atlanta, serves "classic Southern pizza," according to its website.
Ebbing said he and his family were introduced to the Mellow Mushroom franchise while vacationing in Asheville, N.C.
When a Mellow Mushroom pizzeria opened on Polaris Parkway in 2009, Ebbing went to eat there and court the franchise.
Colby Zachrich, one of the franchise owners, remembers the visit.
Zachrich said Ebbing suggested New Albany as a location and his family loved the idea.
He said he stayed in touch with Ebbing and kept visiting the New Albany area, and it "kept sounding better and better."
Zachrich said his family was so confident about the location that they signed a lease with the New Albany Co. two years ago, before the building in which they would lease space even was constructed at the northwest corner of Market and Main streets.
Now that the building is under construction, Zachrich is more excited than ever.
He said the pizzeria would be the third Mellow Mushroom in central Ohio -- and the biggest. He said the restaurant would be 6,800 square feet, about 1,000 square feet more than the restaurants in Polaris and Dublin.
The pizzeria will face Market Street, with access from the alley that will separate the building from dentist Jeffrey Angart's office. Parking and a second entrance will be on the north side, in the rear of the building.
Zachrich said the pizzeria would include a semi-private room available for meetings and private events.
The pizzeria will have 50 tap handles for craft beer, and patio seating will face Market Street and the alley, with lounge areas and two fireplaces, Zachrich said.
It will seat 206 inside and 38 outside.
"We had the benefit of making changes and using ideas to make this store the best it can be," Zachrich said.
Zachrich called New Albany a "tight-knit" community, describing the Mellow Mushroom franchise the same way.
"Mellow Mushroom is a tight-knit company and it will mesh well with New Albany," he said. "I think it will be a great fit."
"It's not just about the atmosphere of the restaurant or the quality of the food; they are community-oriented and family-oriented," Ebbing said.
Zachrich said he hopes Mellow Mushroom will open in New Albany by the end of October.
Ebbing and his family are waiting.