Although it arrived late, “The Cadillac of pizza” has arrived at Hilliard.
Massey’s Pizza opened at 5068 Cemetery Road on April 4, filling a vacant storefront since December 20, 2019, when Iacono’s Pizza & Restaurant closed.
“We had been looking for a location (in the Hilliard area) for a few years and thought this was a good location,” said co-owner Jed Pallone, 76, who along with his brother, Dave Pallone, 80, owns and operates Massey’s Pizza.
The Hilliard store is the 16th for Massey’s Pizza.
There are 15 in central Ohio, six of which are company stores.
The other franchise is in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, started by two Gahanna natives.
The Massey’s Hilliard site was due to open in September 2021, but like many construction projects, manufacturing, supply chain and labor availability have been impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, delaying its opening, said Jed Pallone.
“It usually only takes us four to six months to get a store ready, (but) we struggled to get ovens, furniture, almost everything we needed.”
It took just over a year to complete a ‘wall-to-wall’ renovation,” said Jed Pallone.
The owners have invested nearly $400,000 to remodel the interior of the 2,200 square foot restaurant.
The storefront had been vacant since Iacono closed after about 20 years.
The site’s history as a pizzeria is longer.
It was known as Don Gino’s Restaurant, serving pizza and pasta until 1986 when it was bought and renamed Gatto’s Pizza, a name it kept for about two years when it became Iaconos.
Gatto’s Pizza still operates a take-out-only pizzeria at 2928 N. High St. in the Clintonville area of Columbus.
Massey’s story began in 1949 when Romeo Siri and Jim and Dan Massucci opened their first store, called Romeo’s Pizza, at North Star Road and West Fifth Avenue in Grandview Heights.
In 1953 Jim and Dan Massucci opened the first Massey’s Pizza in Whitehall.
Phil Casa bought Massey’s from Jim Massucci in 1962 and later sold the restaurant to his cousins, Jed and David Pallone.
In the mid-1970s, a second Massey’s opened in Gahanna, and the franchise continued to grow, said Massey’s Pizza marketing director Rich Folk.
The closest Massey’s store to Hilliard was on Binns Boulevard and Sullivant Avenue west of Columbus.
“I think we’re best known for how we make our pepperoni crust and toppings,” said Dave Pallone.
Folk said the company’s pizza isn’t the cheapest in the pizza landscape, but the extra customers get their money’s worth.
The pizza is baked not on a skillet but on a hearth inside a deck oven, said Dave Pallone.
“This is how (pizza) is supposed to be cooked.”
Massey’s uses its own cornmeal recipe for the crust and has an exclusive supplier for the pepperoni, Dave Pallone said.
The pepperoni is placed so that they overlap, resulting in approximately 155 pieces on a large 14-inch pizza.
Massey’s crust style and its “square” cut, also known as a “tavern cut,” pioneered the “Columbus” style of pizza, Folk said.
Hilliard resident Roy Gaines was at the store for the opening, having waited out the delays.
“I heard it was opening, but I was wondering if anyone had it wrong,” Gaines said, adding that he had missed Massey’s since frequenting a Massey’s that had been open for less than two years. at the Silver Horn Center on the Hilliard-Rome and Roberts roads about 20 years ago.
Massey’s operated a company store there in the early 2000s, Folk said.
“I’ve been waiting for (this store) to open,” Gaines said.
For more information on locations, hours of operation and menu items, visit masseyspizza.com.