Kiser’s on Court moves over for Lancaster based New York style Pizzeria

Emily Bohatch | News Editor

While Ohio University students may still be recovering from the sudden closure of Kiser’s Barbeque’s Court Street location Monday afternoon, they can begin to look forward to the opening of a New York style pizzeria.

Franco’s Pizza, an eatery currently based out of Lancaster, will be opening its doors at 42 S. Court St. around the third week of February, or at least that’s co-owner Marty Parsons’ estimate.

Parsons and his two partners stumbled upon the Court Street location during OU’s winter break when the former owners were repairing the store, Sean Kiser, owner of Kiser’s Barbeque, said.

The owners of the pizzeria asked Kiser if the business was closing and offered to purchase the location.

Mike Young, co-owner of Franco’s Pizza, said he desired the location “mainly (for) the foot traffic from the college students.” Parsons, on the other hand, joked that the location would “make us young again.”

“Pizza and young kids just go together,” Parsons said.

Young said from there, negotiations took about three weeks.

“We kind of just got lucky,” Parsons said.

The owners of Franco’s Pizza had been scoping out Athens for a new location for some time, earlier considering a •Union Street location, Parsons said. The deal fell through, and the owners continued their search.

The new restaurant will serve New York style pizza — by the slice for those college students on the run or by the pizza for true fans — and subs, largely modeled off of the recipes of The Pizza Place, a pizzeria in the owner’s hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia.

“We ate this pizza our whole life,” Parsons said.

Parsons worked at The Pizza Place since he was 15 under the guidance of owner “Franco,” who the trio happily named their own business venture after.

While uptown is currently lacking in a New York style Pizza joint, Ashley Fortuna, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, said she is against the addition of a new pizzeria.

“I feel like we already have enough pizza around here,” she said. “I think it’s kinda dumb to open a pizza place.”

As for Kiser’s, it may be gone from Court Street, but it is hardly forgotten.

Kiser said the company would focus more on its East State Street location, which is currently housed in the Athens Mall.

“We kind of found … two different spots in the same town were competing against ourselves a bit,” Kiser said. “We probably had room for improvement.”

He added that Kiser’s would be extending its East State Street menu to include the barbeque bowl and barbeque taco popularized at the Court Street location. Additionally, the company is in the process of applying for a D5B liquor license, and just finished the application.

The store will also be updating its catering options as well, according to a Facebook post announcing the store’s closing.



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