Pizzerias thrive in Bowling Green

Bowling Green is home to 15 pizzerias and was once rumored to have the most pizza places per capita in the United States. So what’s the deal with all the pizza?

Cottage Inn and Night Flight pizza appeared on the BG scene in the past six months, which may result in a loss of business for other pizzerias.

Senior Jake McPherson believes more pizza places creates a system of checks and balances.

“We need the big pizza places like Pizza Hut and Dominos because they keep the little guys’ prices in check,” McPherson explained. “And in order for the big guys to have a decent tasting pizza, we need the smaller guys like Myles and Pisanellos. The competition generates better pizza and better prices. Besides, who wouldn’t want more pizza to choose from?”

Travis Pugh, manager of Myles Pizza Pub, said the Myles building was one of the first pizzerias in Ohio, and they are not worried about losing business to newcomers.

“Obviously, there’s a market for pizza because there are plenty of places here that are still operating,” Pugh said. “We’re not really worried about a new place coming in. People might try it out, but they will come back to Myles because of what it is.”

Jackie Panning, manager of Pollyeyes, said she has been in the pizza business for 40 years and they offer what the franchise pizzerias can’t.

“Quality and service is what brings our customers back,” Panning said. “The big places may cut their prices, but to me, I don’t know if that means quality food.”

Although small family-owned businesses are known for their superior taste, two franchise pizza companies topped the chart for favorite pizza, according to a BG News poll. Papa Johns and Pizza Hut took first and second place. Three family-owned pizzerias followed.

Ellana Fishwick, assistant manager at Papa Johns, believes being a franchise helps Papa Johns become the customers favorite. She said students may have had Papa Johns at home and then come into town and go somewhere for pizza that they know is good.

In case students don’t have enough pizzerias to choose from, they can find pizza pretty much anywhere on campus.

Dining Service General Manager Daria Blachowski-Dreyer said pizza is available at every dining hall because college students just love it.

“It’s fast, and it’s comfort food,” Blachowski-Dreyer said. “It has become such a convenience and there is such competition that you can get great deals all over the place.”

But Bowling Green has a high number of pizzerias even for a college town. According to the Bowling Green and Athens, Ohio chambers of commerce, Athens has a population of about 23,000 with nine pizza places; Bowling Green has a population of about 29,000 with 15 pizza places.

So maybe the high number of pizzerias is a reflection of Bowling Green’s poor eating habits.

Marla Murphy, a graduate assistant in food and consumer sciences, said people will eat what they want, but there are ways they can make their pizza more nutritious.

“You can minimize the amount of meat and choose a lighter pizza with a thinner crust,” Murphy said. “Order fewer toppings or get more vegetables than meat. If you want meat, then order chicken instead.”

Murphy said a good rule is to eat pizza only about once a week, but it really all depends on the person’s exercise and eating habits.