For John Wagner, there are two areas local restaurant owners need to make a priority if they want to succeed.
“It’s always a challenge to win over a new audience in whatever you do,” the 43-year-old Powder Springs man said, “but you have to have a mix of two things when you’re in the restaurant business: one is good product, another is good atmosphere and customer service. If you only have one and not the other, you aren’t going to last.”
Wagner hopes his focus on these will carry his new venture, Loma Pizzeria, through the years. Located in the former spot on Sailors Parkway near the , it’s set to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday and open Wednesday.
“We’re pretty much ready to go,” said Wagner, who will run the store with his wife, 39-year-old Morgan. The couple lives in the Country Walk subdivision with their 8-year-old son, Logan, a student, and their 15-month-old girl, Mazzy.
Loma will offer subs, hoagies, calzones, salads, stromboli and, of course, pizza, made with a “tried-and-true” sauce recipe from one of Wagner’s friends. Another key to the pizza is a blend of two cheeses, grinded from blocks instead of out of a bag, Wagner said.
“It’s a taste you’re not going to get anywhere else,” he said, noting that a rarity among most Italian places, pizza by the slice, will be offered.
The full menu is attached.
Discounts include 15 percent off for Country Walk residents with a valid homeowner's association card, and 50 percent off for all Powder Springs city employees, firefighters and postal workers while in uniform or at work.
The restaurant will be the only locally owned, non-franchise pizza place in Powder Springs, Wagner said. It will replace the recently closed Pomarico’s, which was there for about a year, and Cangelosi’s Pizzeria, which was there for three years prior.
The Wagners have been remodeling for about a month, and the differences customers can expect are a mini arcade, five new wall TVs, and a fresh color scheme.
While living in Texas, Wagner gained 10 years of experience owning his own pizza shop. He then hopped on with Home Depot, transferring with the company to the Atlanta area, then switching to Aaron’s.
Speaking on what he liked about local versus corporate: “I definitely missed having the same clientele come in on a weekly basis—you know what they ordered, you know what they wanted, their kids knew you, you knew exactly how to treat each kid.”
Delivery will be available but not when it first opens. The hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Those interested in the two positions still available—cook and dishwasher/bus person—should call 770-675-7849.
“I have always loved this industry,” Wagner said. “Every time we’d go out to eat pizza somewhere, whether it was a franchise or a locally owned place, I’d always tell my wife, ‘I can do this better.’”