Daytonians swear by their Marion’s Piazza.
This home grown chain of nine pizza places — “piazza” refers to the interior concept of each store, quite like a Roman courtyard — is a family-focused group of places best for large groups and families to congregate for any number of reasons and enjoy each other’s company. Dayton tends to be a suburban and very family based town, and places like this are built to cater to that demographic. But it’s the pizza that’s on everyone’s mind.
The Marion’s pizza formula is something akin to the “Columbus style” pizza — cracker-thin very crispy crust topped with a sweeter, fruit-forward sauce and cut into small squares. The concept doesn’t sound complicated, but it’s one “Best pizza” in Dayton in a great many contests, so there’s something to be said for that. Altogether, the pizza is very manageable, such small slices are easy to portion out and everything, especially when you’re dealing with a large group of people. The thin crust can mean people will be hungry though, so it’s best to order more.
Ingredients on the pizzas remain pretty simple, but in fact many of them, especially the meats, are locally sourced. Sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, green onions and even anchovies, a lot of classic ingredients with a focus on sort of a traditional kind of pizza experience. It’s a neat thing to see, for sure. I am partial to the sausage — I didn’t like the mushrooms they used — and the pizzas with meats in general tend to be my favorite, just because some of the veggie ingredients are simpler.
The key to the Marion’s experience, though, remains in visiting the restaurants. Seating is massive — some of the locations have space for up to 500 people, and are frequented by large teams and families, and every trip to one of the locations — indeed any night of the week too — will find you surrounded by a group of happy people. It’s kind of a nice tradition to see, and I’ll bet you’d have an easy time finding a born-and-raised Daytonian who can remember coming here every night of the week during summers. The walk-up counters get the pizzas prepared quickly and they’re served traditionally on small cardboard sheets meant for sharing with a large group.
Altogether Marion’s is a Dayton experience, something locals swear by. If you’re new to the local scene, give it a try, and bring a few friends.
- The restaurants are made to seat large groups. So, come with a large group.
- Pizza is a simple menu item, and I prefer the meat options for toppings, you’d also be able to get some good subs and other foods if you aren’t into pizza.
- Every now and then Marion’s will have a special where they sell pizza at throwback prices. Definitely something to go in for.