Massey's Pizza slated to open this fall at former Iacono's in Hilliard

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Massey's Pizza will open in this storefront at 5068 Cemetery Road, formerly Iacono’s Pizza & Restaurant.

Some might say Hilliard has been a veritable oasis for pizzerias.

The city's most recent addition is Massey’s Pizza, expected to open in September at 5068 Cemetery Road, the former site of Iacono’s Pizza & Restaurant, which had operated for 30 years before its closure in December 2019. Before Iacono's, it was Gatto’s Pizza, and before that, Don Gino’s Restaurant.

The Massey’s Pizza in Hilliard would be the brand's 16th restaurant. Fourteen are in central Ohio and one is at Pawleys Island, near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Hilliard location also would be the brand's sixth corporate restaurant; the others are franchises.

Rich Folk, chief marketing officer for Massey’s Pizza, said Massey’s has been scoping a site in Hilliard for a while before signing a lease for the Cemetery Road site.

Massey's Pizza has been a central Ohio mainstay for more than 70 years.

Massey’s Pizza's closest locations to Hilliard are to the north in Powell and to the west on Sullivant Avenue in west Columbus.

“We know people don’t want to drive too far for a pizza, and we knew there was a gap (in the Hilliard area), so we have been looking here,” Folk said.

Massey's Pizza once had a corporate location in the Hilliard market, about 20 years ago, at the Silver Horn Center at Hilliard-Rome and Roberts roads in Columbus.

"At that point, all but one of the seven Massey's locations were corporate and we were stretched too thin, (but) the learning curve has been flattened and we are confident we will be successful at the new spot," Folk said.

Massey’s will invest “several hundred thousand dollars” for a remodel of the interior of the new Hilliard site, from top to bottom, Folk said.

When asked about entering an already pizza-rich landscape, Folk said the quality of the pizza would stand out among the competition.

Billed as the “Cadillac” of pizzas, Folk said, “it isn’t the cheapest pizza” you can find, and Massey’s doesn’t market it as such, either.

“Our topping, the amount and the quality, makes the difference,” he said.

It also is not prepared in a conveyor oven, which Folk said is a common practice, but in “an old-school deck oven.”

The pizzas bake on steel shelves of varying heights and on a layer or cornmeal, he said.

“The cornmeal is the magic," Folk said.

Massey’s also is aware of its customer base – and demand – via social media.

“We think there is some pent-up need for Massey’s in Hilliard,” Folk said.

The first family-owned Massey's opened in 1949 on East Livingston Avenue in Columbus but soon relocated to East Main Street in Whitehall.

Its second location did not open until the mid 1970s in Gahanna, and since then, they slowly have increased in number, Folk said.

Massey’s also is working toward obtaining a liquor license at the Hilliard location, he said.

Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, said Massey’s is known to have a large following and she is pleased that pizza-lovers in the Hilliard community have a new option.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo