Table Talk: Pizza Cottage slices into Lewis Center restaurant scene

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Manager Nick Johnson slices a pizza at the new Pizza Cottage at 8753 Owenfield Drive in Lewis Center.

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.

The casual American restaurant in Lewis Center has been replaced by Pizza Cottage, which is making deeper cuts into the central Ohio market.

“The opportunity just came up with the building, the right opportunity at the right time,” Chad Dawson, a regional manager with Pizza Cottage, said of the new location, whose drive-thru officially opened Jan. 4 and dining room opened Jan. 11 at 8753 Owenfield Drive.

It is the seventh location in the Lancaster-based pizza chain.

“It’s very modern,” Dawson said of the 4,000-square-foot space. “It’s a complete, total overhaul for the building we took over. This is a new look and new branding for us inside the store.”

The look offers a lot of grays and blues, booths throughout the dining room and an open kitchen. A banquet space could seat as many as 100 guests or could be divided into three spaces.

The pie is the prototypical central Ohio style: ultrathin crust (other options are available) made on the premises, a rich sauce and fresh vegetables, Dawson said.

Pizza Cottage regional manager Shelli Reese displays a thin-crust, square-cut pizza at the chain's new Lewis Center location.

Several signature pies are available in addition to build-your-own options. One is the loaded-baked-potato pizza: garlic butter, roasted redskins, a cheddar mix, bacon and chives, with sour cream on the side.

The crowd favorite is the BLT pizza: bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo capped with dough, making it more like a sandwich.

“We’re making 300 to 400 on a Friday night,” said Shane Shoemaker, another regional manager.

Pizza Cottage regional manager Shane Shoemaker stands next to a stack of pizza boxes at the chain's latest location in Lewis Center.

The menu also features wings, sandwiches, salads, calzones and pasta dishes.

Pizza Cottage has been on a slow march west since its humble beginnings in 1972 as the Coney Cottage in Carroll.

Founders Jack and Yvonne Gorham changed the name to Pizza Cottage a few months later. The couple opened more stores and shuttered a few along the way, breeching the central Ohio market in 2009 with a pizzeria in Pickerington.

Larry Tipton, who owns 10 Buffalo Wild Wings franchises, bought the pizza business in January 2017.

The growth plan is modest, Shoemaker said, with plans to open stores in Athens and Grove City in the nearfuture.

“We don’t want to be on every corner,” he said. “We want to be able to take care of the customers that we have.”

Pizza Cottage took over the Ruby Tuesday space at 8753 Owenfield Drive in Lewis Center.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 740-879-3001.

Catering outfit gets rebranded

Sue Preston and her daughter, Amber Preston, are now partners and have rebranded Preston Catering as Preston Eatery, 1093 Bethel Road in northwest Columbus.

The space will continue its extensive selection of grab-and-go meals but also has a menu of such made-to-order items as sandwiches and salads, Amber Preston said.

Among the sandwiches are homemade cranberry chicken salad; a BLT with house-roasted turkey, candied bacon, Havarti cheese and Boursin mayonnaise on focaccia; an Italian sub; and ham and cheese.

Most sandwiches are $8 to $10.

Preston Eatery also smokes salmon for garden salads.

Dine-in seating is available but is limited to eight customers, Amber Preston said.

She said she received her degree from Columbus Culinary Institute at Bradford School, now closed, and joined her mother in her catering business, which she had moved to Bethel Road seven years ago.

Over the past year, however, the catering end took a hit from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, so delivery and setup have been phased out, she said. Large catering orders still are available for pickup, she said.

Mr. Hummus Grill expands

Mr. Hummus Grill is joining the Italian Village dining scene.

The Lebanese restaurant, with a location already on Bethel Road, will take over 5,000 square feet of space at 1131 N. Fourth Ave. in Columbus.

A spring opening is planned.

Owner Tarek Albast said the space also has an 8,000-square-foot patio.

Out with Boston, in with Popeyes

The word is out: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will replace Boston Market at 5150 Tuttle Crossing Blvd. in Dublin. The site currently is under construction.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary