Two local entrepreneurs are joining forces to open a brick-oven pizza restaurant near Central Hardin High School.
Pizza Mavens is expected to open by fall at 2975 Leitchfield Road in a building that gave birth to the local resturant, Texas Outlaw but has been vacant for at least a dozen years.
Since that time that stretch of U.S. 62 near factories and the Elizabethtown Sports Park has attracted four fast-food outlets. Owners Stacy Reynolds and Ronald Bodner expect their new venture to fill a niche.
A high-end pizza oven has been ordered and the entire kitchen will be outfitted with new equipment, Reynolds said. Besides seating for roughly 45 patrons, Pizza Mavens will offer delivery including some unserved areas such as Stephensburg and beyond.
“We’ve been on the search for a piece of property for some time,” Reynolds said. “We nailed down a price and got that squared away.”
The $206,000 real estate transaction was recorded late last month and the new owners just took possession. Reynolds said the building, which originally opened as Bruins Den, was in excellent condition considering the years it has been vacant.
Signage has been ordered and he’s expecting a couple months of renovations. The partners hope to open by fall to capitalize on Central Hardin’s football crowds.
Both men have enjoyed success in the local service industry. Reynolds, who also serves as executive director of the Elizabethtown Heritage Council, operates Bourbon Barrel Tavern downtown and Bodner runs Reuben’s Deli on Cardinal Drive.
Reynolds, whose been involved in small businesses for around 20 years, said he’s accustomed to wearing multiple hats and said Pizza Mavens won’t detract from his other activities. He and Bodner have a person in mind to head the operation and plan to surround themselves with a quality staff.
“You really have to be willing to pay a little bit more,” he said. “That may cut your margins a little thin” but he said in the long run retaining employees is less expensive than constantly training new staff.
For now, the building sits outside the Elizabethtown city limits which means the restaurant is not subject to the city’s 2-percent tax on prepared food. The partners, however, are considering requesting annexation to be able to access city services.
The restaurant’s menu has not been finalized, but beyond pizza, Reynolds expects to offer wings and perhaps some sandwich options.
Reynolds said he’s excited about the challenge.
“I enjoy building up a business,” he said.