Let Grove City’s pizza wars commence was originally published in the May/Jun 2021 Issue of Discover Grove City | Written by Brandon Klein
It’s not hard to find nicely sliced examples of Grove City’s love for pizza.
Between the launch of Visit Grove City’s Pizza Trek in 2019 and CityScene Magazine’s hotly contested best pizzeria award in this year’s Best of the ’Bus, it’s clear Grove City makes a good pizza.
Since 2009, when our sister publication launched Best of the ’Bus, a Grove City pizza place has been in contention each year to win the voter’s choice award.
So, here’s a slice of what Grove City has to offer.
Next Generation, Same Recipe
Zamarelli’s Pizza Palace continues to serve the same recipes since it opened in 1963. Andrew Zamarelli moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to attend college at The Ohio State University and never left. His family has lived in the Grove City area since the mid ’50s.
Zamarelli’s offers several Italian dishes ranging from pizza to lasagna and ravioli. Any dish that comes with the restaurant’s homemade sausage is popular. Its pizzas also use smoked provolone cheese instead of mozzarella.
“They were all of his mother’s Italian recipes she brought over in the 1900s,” says Constance “Tina” Middendorf, Zamarelli’s daughter. “We still use all those recipes today.”
Middendorf’s husband, Jack Middendorf, worked for the business since high school. As fate would have it, the pizzeria is where the two met. They bought the business from Zamarelli, who continued working at the pizzeria until his death in 1995. Zamarelli was heavily involved in the community, supporting the school district, religious organizations and other community entities.
After purchasing the business, the Middendorfs kept the restaurant exactly as Zamarelli left it, though they did add a few new menu items. The community has loved and supported them since day one, so they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.
“We can’t do what we do without the community,” Middendorf says.
Zamarelli’s has won several Best of ’Bus awards for its pizza, including last year when it tied with Grove City neighbor Tammy’s Pizza.
Youngs Family, Historic Recipe
The Youngs family bought Tammy’s Pizza in 2004, four years after it opened, and in 2007 they opened the Broadway location in the Historic Town Center.
Owner Mark Youngs says Tammy’s Pizza has definitely grown a few times over since opening.
“We’re one of the few local mom-and-pop type shops that are owned by Grove City residents,” he says. “That’s a big plus. I think people like supporting local business.”
With homemade dough and fresh ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Among the pizzas, subs, pasta, salads and a mouthwatering selection of appetizers, one menu item always sweeps the board as the top pick for customers.
“It sounds boring, but our best seller is just our pepperoni pizza!” Youngs says. “Our toppings go all the way out to the edge, and everything’s made in house. It’s things that we do that large chains can’t do.”
Youngs says the cheesy garlic bread puts up a fierce fight for most popular item, far beating any other appetizers.
Editor’s note: Try the locally sourced fresh sausage on your next pizza from Tammy’s!
Grandstand Pizza Shop’s history comes in layers, just like pizza.
Its original ownership used to be involved with the long-since-closed Great Race Pizza Shoppes chain before starting Grandstand Pizza Shop on the OSU campus in 1982. A year later, it opened the Grove City location when Kevin Bradley, its current owner, joined as a driver.
Bradley and a business partner bought the business in 1984, opening two more locations before the partnership ended in 1985. Bradley took over the Grove City spot and for a short while owned locations in Hilliard and West Jefferson.
Bradley moved Grove City’s Grandstand Pizza Shop twice before settling on its current location on Broadway. With so much (friendly) competition, it was a challenge to choose the right spot.
“The pizza market in Grove City is massive,” Bradley says.
Though the market is now dominated with bigger chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Donatos, Bradley says he remembers a time when there were about eight two-man pizza operations in Grove City.
Bradley says its old-world pepperoni is among Grandstand’s best sellers along with its array of subs.
Celebrating 45 Years of Pizza
In 1976, Wayne Ulrey purchased a small pizza shop in West Jefferson for $19,000. Despite having no experience, the Ulrey family grew what became known as Flyer’s Pizza and soon added more locations.
The Grove City location opened in 2002 and a second location was added in 2017, serving Grove City residents its signature bomber pizza, which is topped with pepperoni, pizza sauce, provolone cheese, sliced ham, salami, mushroom, sausage, green peppers, white onion and oregano.
“Grove City is a pizza community out there,” says Scott Ulrey, who, along with his three brothers, now runs the business his dad started.
Wayne passed away about five years ago, but Steve, Mark, Dave and Scott continue his legacy.
“It’s truly a family business,” Ulrey says.
Sports Bar & Wings
In 1949, central Ohio pizza consumers Jim and Dan Massucci and Romeo Siri served pizza at their Italian restaurant in Grandview. The Massucci brothers would go on to open Massey’s Pizza, one of Columbus’ first pizzerias, in Whitehall, followed by several locations. It opened its Grove City location in 2013 as the first of several sports bar themed pizza restaurants.
Not the Name, but Part of the Game
You may not find pizza in their names, but you will on their menus – plenty of Grove City businesses are known to serve a delicious pie.
Since it opened in 1994, Plank’s on Broadway offers a tavern-like atmosphere and pizzas that can be enjoyed with a nice cold beer.
Cimi’s Bistro, located at Pinnacle Golf Club, offers a selection of wood-fired pizzas, fresh seafood, house-made pasta, sandwiches and weekly chef specials. It complements its Italian inspired, modern American cuisine with its signature magnificent patio views.
Brandon Klein is the editor. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.