Pizza Pivot on W. Stadium
Familiar faces turn Papa John's into Toarmina's
From the April, 2019 issue
Toarmina's Pizza opened a west-side location in March in Boulevard Plaza, replacing competitor Papa John's. Manager Allen Pieske says he and many other employees stayed on from their jobs at Papa John's, and Toarmina's kept much of the equipment too.
Pieske says "it's hard for [Papa John's] in Michigan." He thinks business went down because "it's too expensive and some things the owner said before," referring to now-resigned chairman John Schnatter's highly publicized use of a racial slur on a conference call. Following widespread outrage, Papa John's closed fifty-one of its locations over the winter.
Toarmina's is a Michigan chain that started in Westland. Founder Lou Toarmina opened the second Ann Arbor location (the first is a combination burrito and pizza joint on Packard) as part of a larger expansion effort. He is running the location himself until he can find a franchisee.
Pieske says Toarmina's pizza is "more authentic Italian" than other pizza delivery joints, and the expansive menu also includes subs, ribs, wings, and salads. The crowning culinary achievement though, is Toarmina's monster twenty-four-inch pizza, whose near-comically large box sits in the window.
Toarmina's Pizza, 2145 W. Stadium Blvd. (734) 800-2424. Daily 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. toarminas.com
[Originally published in April, 2019.]
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