It was in October 2017 around the time of his restaurant’s first anniversary that Eric Soller, co-founder with his wife Stephanie of Old Scratch Pizza in Dayton, first acknowledged that the owners were contemplating adding a second location of their successful Naples-style pizza restaurant.
“We think we’ve created a (concept) that would work in a lot of other places,” Soller told this news outlet at the time. Still, he said he was in no hurry, and would be selective: “If we go somewhere, we’ll have to keep the soul of Old Scratch Pizza,” he said.
Fast-forward 15 months, and Soller believes he has found just the right spot: a small strip-retail center that currently houses Centerville Home Fireplace & Patio at 440 Miamisburg-Centerville Road just west of Centerville in Washington Twp.
“We bought the building, so we’re definitely going to do this,” Soller told this news outlet late Monday, Jan. 14. “We’ve had a lot of people ask us to open another location in that part of Dayton, and we’re going to answer that call.”
“Dayton has been very generous to us. Our success has been beyond what we originally anticipated, and we are thrilled with that success,” Soller said. “I think there’s a tremendous opportunity out there for us.”
Independent and locally owned Old Scratch Pizza serves Naples-style pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens, as well as salads and a few specialty items. It features a variety of craft beers on tap as well as a wine and cocktail list. The atmosphere is casual, with seating in the dining area provided by picnic tables.
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The newest Old Scratch Pizza will occupy 8,300 square feet of the retail center, a space slightly larger than Old Scratch’s flagship restaurant at 812 S. Patterson Blvd. just south of downtown Dayton. Soller said a second, smaller space in the center will continue to be occupied by a podiatrist’s office, and he’ll be looking for a tenant for a vacant third space that previously housed a Planet Smoothie shop.
Jeff Steeprow, owner of Centerville Home Fireplace & Patio, said he is in the midst of a store-closing, 50 percent-off sale, and has no plans of relocating the business. Steeprow said he expects to shut down in mid-February. The store opened in 2012.
Soller said he is shooting for a late-summer opening. The new Old Scratch Pizza will seat as many as 200 and will employ about 60. The current restaurant has 58 employees.
The Washington Twp. location will have three Naples-style pizza ovens, one more than the Dayton restaurant has, and will have dedicated parking and a take-out door to accommodate carryout orders, Soller said. Otherwise, the restaurant co-founder said, “We will stick to the formula” that has succeeded in Dayton.
The South Patterson Boulevard location is closed today, Jan. 15, so that workers can install new flooring in the kitchen and bar area and rest rooms, Soller said. The Dayton restaurant is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 16.
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Soller and his wife Stephanie met while both were attending and later graduating from the New England Culinary Institute. Eric Soller served as operations manager for Dayton-based Solganik Food Group for six years until 2006, and has managed hotel and catering kitchens in Oregon, Michigan and Colorado. Before launching Old Scratch Pizza, he was employed by Troy-based Hobart Corp., which produces a variety of commercial kitchen appliances and equipment.