Some pizza shops are moving away from having a dining area – either due to space or cost constraints. Northwood residents Terry Daly and Pam Lodzinski want customers to come in, sit down and enjoy at their Oregon restaurant, T-Town Grinders & Pizza.
The eatery, located at 3220 Navarre Ave. in Oregon (the former Pizza Hut), has an extensive dining area and is becoming more and more popular with local residents.
Both Lodzinski and Daly have extensive experience working in the industry, Lodzinski working at Pizza Hut for 20 years and Daly a veteran of nearly 25 years in the pizza industry, having worked every kind of job from the ground up, including folding boxes, delivering pizzas, cooking and managing store operations.
|Pamela Lodzinski and Terry Daly at their Oregon restaurant
T-Town. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)
“Terry and I had spoken about opening a pizzeria and then all this came about with Pizza Hut moving,” Lodzinski said. “We had talked for a few years (about doing this) and finally said, ‘Let’s just open the restaurant. Why not do it in this building?’ I already had a lot of customers from having worked at Pizza Hut.”
The restaurant opened Dec. 12, 2012 (12/12/12).
“The first few months, we’d done all the advertising, but I was concerned,” Daly said. “Slowly, we got busier. It was probably eight months before we got going. Then we started our buffet (and) things finally took off. We’re the only pizza sit-down place with a buffet on the strip on Navarre Avenue.”
Daly credits orders from employees from Bay Park Hospital and the Sunoco Refinery for helping move the restaurant the right direction.
Word-of-mouth recommendations have also seemed to help bring in customers, many of whom become regulars. “Probably half the people who come in here we know by name,” Daly said. “I want a family atmosphere here. I’m a mom-and-pop shop. We make sure to say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome,’ and I make sure my employees talk to the customers and acknowledge them when they come in. I have a great crew here.”
“It’s through God’s blessings that we’re here today,” Daly said.
Lodzinski also acknowledged Richard Grewe, the owner of the building, with helping the couple to get the business up and running in its initial stages. She is also very appreciative of the people in Oregon for supporting the business.
“We give thanks,” Lodzinski said, “to the Oregon community for their tremendous support.”
When looking to create their menu, the couple focused on freshness, they said. “I’ve taken everything I know as far as my knowledge of this business and put it into the store,” Daly said. “I had so much faith in our product. I knew there was so much we could do with this place.”
The bread is made from scratch and baked daily, something Daly takes pride in and feels is the key to making delicious food.
And the sauce has a rich, unique taste that sets it apart. Also of note – the eatery has gone without any health-code violations, something viewers may have heard about on a recent “Restaurant Report Card” segment on Toledo’s 13abc.
In addition to a range of pizzas, the store, which employs seven people, offers a variety of other food, such as calzones, chicken tenders, pasta, subs and salads.
There are eight different kinds of specialty pizzas, ranging from vegetarian to Hawaiian to the Salty Dog to the T-Town taco. On top of that, there are 20 toppings to choose from including steak and ground beef.
Prices for standard pizzas are $3.50 for a small (8 inches), $5.50 for a medium (12 inches), $6.50 for a large (14 inches) and $8.50 for an extra large (16 inches). Prices vary for specialty pizzas.
“I’m a blue-collar guy,” Daly said, “and I want blue-collar families to be able to eat here.”
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. The store’s pizza/pasta buffet is open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. All major credit cards, including American Express are accepted.
For more information, call 419-725-2820 or visit https://ttowngrindersandpizza.com, as well as their Facebook page.