Industry News | April 14, 2011

Pizza Inn Opens Up in the Bull City

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Pizza Inn Inc. is now open in Durham, North Carolina, at 3906 N. Duke Street.

The building at 3906 N. Duke Street had been a local pizzeria in the late 1960s, and after that was a Pizza Inn. Now, by popular demand, two local businessmen are recreating the traditional pizzeria experience and bringing Pizza Inn back to Durham.

"It's an institution to people in north Durham," says Troy Harrington about the restaurant's historic location. "I've heard stories of kids who came here with their Little League teams, of couples who had their first dates here, and men who proposed to their wives."

So Harrington and business partner Mike Cotton visited 23 Pizza Inn restaurants across four states as homework. Harrington, who served as a vice president for almost 10 years with a homebuilding company, and Cotton, who was the founder and former operator of Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q in Durham and Roxboro, put their construction and operations expertise together to create a brand new experience.

"We are happy to bring the Pizza Inn brand back to Durham," Cotton says. "National restaurant chains have avoided northern Durham as they don't believe that our community will support a new restaurant but, as a 45-year resident, I disagree and so do about 90,000 other people. Our restaurant will be a family-friendly, neighborhood place to eat with an all day buffet as well as full menu for catering and take-out. We will also be very active in supporting our community."

The business partners gutted their building from front to back, remodeled the space, and added three flat-screen televisions, a 27-item salad bar, a full pizza and pasta buffet, and seating for 134 people.

The nostalgia of the building was reclaimed when they removed the siding on the walls to reveal the original brick structure of the pizzeria more than 40 years ago. Now adorned with football helmets and sports jerseys from the area high schools and junior highs, the Pizza Inn is able to add 60 new jobs in the neighborhood to serve up the menu and dining experience that has made the brand popular.

"Troy and Mike have done an incredible job and the community is going to be astounded at their new local Pizza Inn dining experience," says Charlie Morrison, president and CEO of Pizza Inn.