For Willy Patterson, it was a location too good to pass up.
The longtime manager of Deorio’s Pizza Inn at Cross Country Plaza — now the owner with his wife, Terry — said he had wanted to start a “to go” pie store for a good while.
But it wasn’t until a spot in a small CVS/pharmacy-anchored center on the heavily trafficked Moon Road was vacated recently that he jumped in with both feet to launch “Deorio’s Pizza ToGo,” a carry-out store with a drive-thru pickup window. It opened July 9 at 7042 Moon Road.
“I just saw this spot come available and I thought, wow, a drive-thru window, a perfect location, lots of traffic and busy,” Patterson said Friday at the ToGo shop. “North Columbus has been trying to get us to bring pizza over here for a long time.”
It didn’t hurt that credit-card processor TSYS has a large data center next door, with North Highland Church across the street, neighborhoods all around, and a steady stream of traffic in and out of the nearby Columbus Park Crossing shopping area.
A 2012 Georgia Department of Transportation traffic study shows nearly 13,000 vehicles passing Deorio’s Pizza ToGo each day. Moon Road is now being widened south to Wilbur Drive due to a growing crush of traffic in the area.
“I think it’s the busiest corner in Columbus,” said Patterson, whose ToGo shop is in a former Sunray Cleaners store.
Deorio’s Pizza Inn at Cross Country Plaza has been around since 1961, serving a variety of Italian dishes to a very loyal customer base. The ToGo outlet will be strictly pizza, some salads and drinks, said Patterson, who might entertain opening other locations at some point.
“We’d like to do another one at some point,” he said. “I’m not sure how many. We’ll see how this one goes, really, and maybe eventually get another spot.”
The ToGo outlet already has a following, with Rusti Warner commenting earlier this week on its Facebook page, “I’ll see y’all Friday night for dinner.” Said Cathy Pearson: “Picked up a pizza for lunch yesterday! Yum!”
A check of the ToGo menu shows prices ranging from $3.75 for a one-topping “midget” pizza to $21.50 for a large four-topping deluxe. Unlike the Cross Country restaurant, which closes on Sundays, the ToGo store will be a seven-day-a week operation, opening at 11 a.m. each day (noon on Sundays), closing at 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 8 p.m. Sunday. Call 706-221-6620.
Jordan-Hart Commercial Services sales associate Ed Adams said another tenant, Diamond Nails Salon & Spa, is scheduled to open in the CVS center in August.