To enter Raniero’s Pizzeria is to walk into a swirl of smells associated with a classic Italian kitchen. Family pictures adorn the walls, giving a sense of welcoming to this local establishment, and that’s how the owners strive to make you feel- welcome, and like family.
Raniero’s offers a stone-baked, New York-style pizza that can be bought by the pie or by the slice. It’s the recipe that appeals to Ali Hedges, a junior elementary education major at Northern Kentucky University.
“Raniero’s has some of the best local pizza compared to their competitors,” Hedges said.
Raniero’s appeals to a college student’s budget by offering $1 slices from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. The shop owners also offer a “Crunch Time Special” every day from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The special includes a beverage, one slice of pizza, and a side salad for $7.25, which is comparable to prices in the Student Union.
Also on the menu is the 24-inch pizza pie challenge.
“My brother is a huge fan of the show Man v. Food, so when he decided to open the restaurant he wanted to incorporate some type of eating challenge,” said business manager Natalie Howard Ramirez. “It’s a 24-inch pie that a team of two has to eat in ten minutes or less. Around 20 to 30 teams have attempted it, and only eight have succeeded in completing it. The record is seven minutes and 23 seconds.”
The eatery’s rise in popularity since it opened in December 2009 has promoted the decision to expand its current location into the empty space next door that once housed Blockbuster Video.
“We’ve had a booming business and we are very fortunate to get the space to expand,” Ramirez said. “WE weren’t sure if any spot would ever open up in this complex, so we’re lucky it did. We will be able to seat over 100 patrons.”
Ramirez said they plan to stay true to the family atmosphere, but with the expansion they also want to cater more to college students.
“We’re going to be a full-service restaurant and bar, so we’re most likely going to implement a college night one night of the week. It will be 18 years of age and up, and we will offer $1 beer and $1 slices of pizza. We’re also considering things like a karaoke night and live music,” Ramirez said. “There’s not much to do right by campus, so we definitely want to appeal to the college students as well as families.”
The goal is to open the doors of their new establishment by December 1, or by the beginning of January at the latest.