Marion’s named No. 1 independent pizzeria in the country

Marion's Piazza on Wednesday was named to the No. 1 spot in Pizza Today magazine's "Hot 100" list of independent pizzerias in the nation.

“We were really shocked that we made it to number one,” said Marion’s Piazza CEO Roger Glass. “For a little pizza place in Dayton, Ohio, and especially with the way the economy has been in Dayton, to achieve this honor is wonderful, and it’s a testament to our employees and to our customers.”

The magazine uses gross sales as its criteria, measuring all pizzerias with nine or fewer restaurants in the “independent” category. Marion’s, which added its ninth store in Mason in November 2012, had $19.35 million in annual sales, Pizza Today said on its web site.

Marion’s “has stayed true to its roots of large dining rooms and a consistent menu,” the magazine’s editors said in its “Top 100” article. Marion’s smallest restaurant seats 275, and six of its nine restaurants seat more than 500.

The opening of the Mason restaurant was only the second expansion for the 47-year-old chain since 1991. In February 2012, Marion’s opened its eighth restaurant in Troy.

Marion’s has been No. 2 on the Pizza Today “Top 100” independents’ list for several years, Glass said. “It was a goal of mine to reach number one,” he said. “Our office staff, supervisors and store managers are excited about it. We’re like a proud parent, I guess.”

Dayton’s other iconic home-grown pizza chain — Cassano’s Pizza King, which has 32 locations — was listed No. 91 in the magazine’s “Top 100 Pizza Companies” last November with annual sales of $26 million. Pizza Hut was No. 1 on that list, with 13,747 restaurants and annual sales of $11.2 billion.

On the smaller independents’ list, Lima-based Fat Jack’s Pizza placed at No. 26 with $6.2 million in annual sales, and Columbus-based Figlio Wood-Fired Pizza, which has a location in Kettering, was listed at No. 42, with $4.5 million in sales.

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