2020 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Rocky Shanower of Park Street Pizza
Park Street Pizza has been a staple and pride point of Sugarcreek, Ohio since 2003 when Rocky and Courtney Shanower took over a closing pizzeria. The couple took the leap into ownership when the proprietor of a local pizzeria that Rocky had worked at and grew up in was ready to close. “We were at this pivotal point where either we go find other jobs or see if we can make a go of it ourselves,” Rocky says.
Sugarcreek’s response beat all expectations with lines wrapping around the corner of their pizzeria. Within five years they were bulging at the seams and looking to expand. They seized an opportunity to purchase additional land behind their current location, which allowed them to build out their pizzeria in phases beginning with a new kitchen and small dining area. The next phase, they added a 100-seat dining room, waiting area and porch. The final phase included a 60-seat enclosed patio, which was completed in 2017. In the end, their expansion was flawlessly planned and executed. The operation was completely dialed in from the get-go for high volume pizza production and sales.
Its interior is a blend of modern, chic and country with oversized wooden booths, four-top tables, concrete flooring and eclectic chandeliers. The pizza line is located directly behind the counter, which allows their staff to know that they are in the forefront of our customers eyes and critical to their highly successful operation.
At the heart of Park Street’s foundation is, Rocky says, “Caring about our community, caring about our team members and our guests, caring about the locality and the sourcing of our ingredients and the quality of those and then sustainability of the organization overall. Our passion for what we’re doing is supporting our families. We know how much we value our customers. I think by living those and being very involved with everybody, it’s kind of like a top down where the manager sets the culture and it feeds down through them. There’s no magic thing about culture. It’s really just supporting your team, valuing them, caring about them and showing them how much you value the guest experience.”
Their menu is filled with items grown in the local area. Park Street’s menu offers a dozen signature pizzas, a half dozen salads, boneless and bone-in wings, some shareables and a couple sandwiches. Most items are made in-house. The menu also includes considerations and specialties for health-conscious diners, vegans and gluten-intolerant patrons.
The restaurant only scratches the surface of the story of the Shanower’s business. Before Park Street was realized, Rocky and Courtney created Philosophy of Pie. “I look at what we are doing as that’s our restaurant group and everything else falls below that,” Rocky says. Within Philosophy of Pie, there are three main branches: Park Street, a wood-fired pizza truck catering operation named Bahler Street and POP Fundraising.
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BILL OAKLEY is the Group Show Director for International Pizza Expo and Pizza & Pasta Northeast.