MARTINS FERRY Zontini's Pizza has been a staple in Martins Ferry for a number of years.
Located in a small shop on Hanover Street, Darren Emfield and his employees worked to provide residents of both Martins Ferry and beyond a tasty option in their quest for the perfect square slice of pizza.
But even he admitted the store itself was a little cramped. Seating was limited to a chair or two near the door for those who stopped in and had to wait for their lunch or dinner to finish baking.
And then there was the parking issue.
So Emfield decided it was time to look for a new location.
"We'd been considering it for a while,'' Emfield said. ''We found this corner location and it was perfect."
After a few months of renovations, Zontini's Pizza officially moved into its new location at 100 S. Fourth St. last month and the transition has been a Godsend for Emfield.
''This is so much better,'' he said. 'It has more than doubled our space and the landlord took care of the remodeling for us before we moved in."
Now the kitchen staff has ample room to ply their trade.
Equally as important, the lobby space has grown considerably in size, affording Emfield the ability to place a few dining tables.
No longer do patrons have to stand and wait for their favorite pizza. They can sit and relax. Or, for those that choose to do so, they can buy a soda with the meal and eat right in the restaurant.
It's been a boon throughout the day, but more so for the lunch crowd.
"People had mentioned it a few times about wanting the ability to be able to sit down and eat in the shop,'' Emfield said.
"It's really increased our lunchtime business.
"There is ample parking, both on the side of the building and in the lot behind it."
Another bonus is evident every Friday night after the Martins Ferry Purple Riders have a home game.
Anyone who has driven through downtown Martins Ferry on Fridays during the fall has seen a throng of students on the corner of Walnut and Fourth Street outside the First Presbyterian Church.
The church gives the students a place to congregate safely, usually celebrating a Ferry victory.
Now, catty-cornered across the street, is access to Zontini's.
Like Emfield, the church has also taken notice of this fact and taken steps to accommodate.
"The guy in charge of the community room, he has sat out tables so the kids can come over and get their pizza and go back over and sit and eat,'' Emfield said. ''It's been nice."
Despite the new location, the shop's hours and contact number hasn't changed. It's still open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until midnight and Sunday from noon until 11 p.m.
Zontini's, which also operates a location in Bellaire, can be reached at (740) 633-3222..
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