Eat your heart out. A locally owned and operated pizzeria is opening on Valentine’s Day in Stow.
New York to Chicago Pizzeria, located at 4320-1 Kent Road, opens its doors Feb. 14.
Stow shoppers visiting Target, Kohl’s and other stores in the plaza can place an order at a new pizzeria and have their meal ready to pick up afterward. If dining inside, patrons can take in the metropolitan-themed interior.
Owner Ken Long, of Kent, said the initial menu of salads and original-recipe pizzas, including gourmet pizzas such as Italian white, will grow to include traditional pastas and sandwiches.
Long is a former Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos player who retired in 2005 as the associate athletic director at Kent State University and was a high school athletics director for five years.
“The style of sauce John [Calanni] makes here, he developed himself. It’s not just out of a can, or bottle. That’s what makes this kind of a unique concept,” Long said.
Calanni, who has developed his recipes through more than two decades in the restaurant industry, described his philosophy.
“When you think of pizza, you think of two things: New York, thin crust; Chicago, deep dish. We wanted to have one place that had crusts from all those styles. That’s why we have a taxicab. So, you can travel around,” he said.
Calanni referred to the actual drivers-side panel of a former New York taxi that is the centerpiece of a colorful, 6-foot-6-inch by 30-foot mural covering one of the walls of the establishment.
“We want to create the big-city atmosphere as far as the pizza goes, but with the theme you see here,” said Calanni.
Long’s wife, Nancy, who is Calanni’s sister, approached Standing Rock Cultural Arts in Kent last year about designing and creating a mural for the establishment, said Jeff Ingram, the executive director of the non-profit art and educational organization.
Lead artists Rebecca Chou and Cynthia Lynn, David Jerome Bragg and Ingram, all of Kent, as well as Calanni, who installed the taxi panel, worked with six volunteers to paint the mural, investing a collective total of more than 150 hours in its creation. James Cage, of Akron, designed the mural, said Ingram.
Ingram said he enjoyed the collaboration.
“I hope everybody comes away with something different from it, but it’s a very lively street scene, downtown Chicago or New York, with a beautiful sunset,” he said.
With an initial staff of 15 employees, and a menu that Long described as “competitively priced,” the pizzeria has dine-in and carry-out service but does not make deliveries.
Initial hours for New York to Chicago Pizzeria are: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The pizzeria is closed on Sunday.
For more information, call New York to Chicago Pizzeria at 330-686-6922.