42 S. Court St.
Athens, OH 45701
Facebook pageCollege-town Athens, nestled in southeast Ohio, has a lot of pizza to cater to the Ohio University crowd, and each local place offers a little different style. You can enjoy the thick-cut, bready by-the-slice type at Goodfella’s, or a little more quality thick-crush pizza at Courtside Pizza. Or, you can head to Avalanche Pizza for a toppings-loaded monster of a slice. But until recently, the lovely wide-brimmed New York-style pizza remained elusive in this town. That changed last year when a vacated sub shop was replaced by Franco’s Pizza Place, immediately popular for its very foldable slices.
So the pizza here is the main attraction and it’s going to be the first thing you want to try.
- Pizza: If the pie isn’t fresh out of the oven, they’ll throw it back in for you to give it a nice warm-up. Simple cheese is a good option or you can have it with pepperoni, as I did. The crust was great but…the end result was a bit greasy. As in, pools of grease forming in each pepperoni. It took a full two napkins soaked in oil before I was done dabbing. Maybe it settles the stomach? Not sure, but either way, that was a little much.
- Pizza Rolls: More pleasant, though, were the pizza rolls. These are a special Appalachia treat, and even with the pepperoni stuffing them they lacked the same oiliness that the rest of the dishes had. Which made them…pretty pleasant!
- Philly Cheese Steak: This sub is a monster but just so delicious. Huge chunks of sirloin steak, peppers and cheese. It’s a monster, and a big greasy, delicious mess.
If you know what you’re getting then you’ll have a good experience here. Does Athens have a lot of other options for pizza? Yes, but this one does offer something unique. In spite of that oiliness, the college kids do really seem to love the place, and that says something good, too.
It’s hard to imagine anywhere that will give you a New York City feeling when you’re in a small mountain town in rural Ohio. In spite of that, Franco’s manages to pull that feeling off. While you might not be as impressed by the place if you’re an NYC native, it will certainly remind you of home. You’ll also find the food not to be too bad, either. Just make sure you bring a napkin.
- The pizza is good to take and walk, but there’s a dining area people prefer, too.
- The student employees are pretty friendly and pretty patient, which is very nice.
- Give the pizza rolls a try, they’re an Appalachian specialty.