Piece of the Pie

pizza1

Uncle Maddio’s serves fresh pizzas and more

Story By Samantha Hurst

Photos By Dawn Harrison

 

Customers can enjoy salads like chopped, Greek, garden and Caesar.

Customers can enjoy salads like chopped, Greek, garden and Caesar.

Aromas of crisping crusts and bubbling cheese immediately entice taste buds when one strolls into Uncle Maddio’s in Lee Branch.
It’s not long before the sight of 45 pizza toppings sends people’s inner chef into a decision-making craze, too.
“The key for us is that everything is made in house,” says owner Sha Nateghi. “We make our dough each morning and our soups from scratch.”
Open for just over six months, Uncle Maddio’s is considered a fast-casual pizza restaurant.
How fast?
It takes about six minutes for a personal-sized pizza to cook in Uncle Maddio’s specialized ovens.
“We get new customers in every day who ask how long we’ve been here and who are curious about how it works,” says assistant manager Kimberly Johnson.
Patrons walk in, choose to order from the menu or build their own concoction by selecting a dough, specialized sauce and toppings.
Regular or wheat dough? Tomato basil, olive oil or spicy buffalo sauce?

The restaurant offers foldwhiches such as caprese, steak and cheese, spicy Italian and Mediterranean.

The restaurant offers foldwhiches such as caprese, steak and cheese, spicy Italian and Mediterranean.

Diners can order the BBQ Chicken with barbecue and tomato basil sauce, mozzarella, grilled chicken, bacon, red onions and roasted corn, or try their hand at crafting their own combination.

Uncle Maddio’s pizza focuses on fresh ingredients that people can feel good about feeding their families, says Nateghi.
Want gluten-free pizza dough with garlic olive oil sauce, Daiya Vegan Cheese and grilled tofu?
Consider it done.

Kimberly Johnson enjoys sharing pizzas with new and loyal customers.

Kimberly Johnson enjoys sharing pizzas with new and loyal customers.

“To see the people come all the way from downtown just to get that gluten-free option. I think that is fabulous for them, and they are really appreciative of it,” Johnson says.
If you are OK with richer toppings, try Nateghi’s personal favorite — the Steak & Blue — topped with mozzarella and blue cheese crumbles, grilled Angus steak, Roma tomatoes, spinach and balsamic glaze.
Many diners don’t think of pizza at lunch because older brands haven’t offered smaller portions in the past, Nateghi says. Meanwhile, gourmet pizza restaurants take too long for the typical lunch break.
“We want to change the perception of consumers,” Nateghi says. “We want everyone to see that you can get a warm, delicious pizza at lunch without spending a ton of money or time.”
While pizza cravings get you in the door, Nateghi hopes the fresh ingredients and focus on the local community bring you back.
The restaurant chain focuses on a family-friendly environment, and Nateghi has taken that a step forward with free meals for kids on family nights and support for local non-profit groups.
Members from the Oak Mountain Youth Football and Cheerleading, Greystone Elementary and the Shelby County College & Career Center Titans have all raised funds for their organizations or schools by inviting friends and family to a Spirit Night. During Spirit Nights, Uncle Maddio’s commits 10 percent of sales to the groups when patrons mention they are there for Spirit Night.
“I really like the fact that we can do business and support our surrounding community,” Nateghi says.
On Veterans Day and again every Thursday in January, active military personnel and service members, such as police officers and firefighters, were invited to come into the store and receive a free 9-inch, three-topping pizza.
“It’s really humbling to be able to do that for our military members and all of the firefighters in the area,” Johnson says. “We have so many hard-working groups that it feels good to be a part of giving back to them.”
Looking forward, the future for Uncle Maddios will focus on adding delivery to the restaurant’s offerings and increasing work with other community organizations, Nateghi says.
“We want to make delivery the next major step for Uncle Maddios. It would mean our customers could literally get a gourmet pizza, made from incredibly fresh ingredients, delivered straight to them,” he says. “I think it’s a great option for our area. The service will offer delivery pizza on a whole different level.”

 

Uncle Maddio’s is located at 210 Doug Baker Blvd. It’s open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit Unclemaddios.com.
 

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