Franco’s Best Pizza expands to DINE IN
By Beth Volpert Johansen
When demand for a delicious pizza and the pleasure of your company collide, you do what any business owner would do...open a dining room next to your take-out and delivery restaurant.
Demand for Franco’s Best Pizza and a few minutes to chat with owners Deb and Mark Petersen are certainly up and have resulted in great changes for the restaurant that finds itself balanced on an imaginary line between Grayson and Lawrenceville. Based on the numbers and variety of people who came out to celebrate with Deb and Mark, that imaginary line is blurry at best.
Franco’s continues to prove itself a small business with a big taste. Some of the very first customers to sit down at the freshly varnished tables were more than a little hungry. Grayson High School Quarterback, Chase Brice and some of his teammates polished off a few pizzas after practice. “I have always loved their pizza,” said Chase. “It is really great that people can come in, sit down, and hang out while they eat pizza and watch the games on all the tv’s-the room turned out really nice.” His friends nodded their agreement while devouring their pizza.
Football players are not the only students who can appreciate Franco’s Best. Mark and Deb make it a part of their business to support local schools in many ways. To date, they estimate more than 150 thousand reward incentive pizza certificates have been awarded to students at local schools. “Kids are the next generation,” says Deb. “We are here to make a positive difference in the lives of our employees, the community, and kids.”
Opening night hosted the monthly meeting of Heart of Gwinnett Networking. Several notable local dignitaries and Franco’s Best Fans were on hand to cut the ribbon on the new dining room. District 9 State Senator, P.K. Martin was the first to speak on the importance of local businesses and how their expansion indicates positive growth in the area. Dr. Bob Clark of the Lawrenceville City Council and his wife, District 101 Representative Valerie Clark both proclaimed the expansion as a positive sign for the area and declared the made-from-scratch alfredo most delicious. “The Heart of Gwinnett’s network is forward thinking and it is the right thing to do to hold their meeting here tonight,” says Dr. Clark. Additionally, Gwinnett County District 4 Commissioner, John Heard explained his drive to make certain Gwinnett County was not only a great place to do business, but a responsive place to grow a business. “We have made certain that the processes to receive a permit or C.O. (Certificate of Occupancy) have been streamlined and are easier to navigate.”
Several representatives from Heart of Gwinnett Networking were on hand to sample Mark and Deb Petersen’s menu after a ribbon-cutting officially opened the new dining room. “We appreciate all of you spending your time here with us at Franco’s,” said Sara Poe of Heart of Gwinnett. “Supporting one another is important to all of our members.” Sara and other members also spent time discussing just how the dues-free Heart of Gwinnett makes a huge difference in the community with the assistance of generous donations from small businesses just like Franco’s. “Small business really is the heart of Gwinnett,” says Karl Heisman from Summit Chase Country Club. “This group does a lot of good in the community.”
Reaching out for all sorts of local events is just part of the program at Franco’s Best. They cater more than pizza by offering the freshest made-from-scratch chicken alfredo, wings, salad and more for all types of events. “One of our most exciting new offerings is our Wednesday night AYCE jumbo wings,” says Deb. The Tuesday $1.50 Cheese Slice day is a little like taking a bite of New York. “I’m too southern to speak New York, but our food speaks for itself!”
In all, the restaurant was a buzz of energy with boxes flying out the door and patrons ordering several different types of pizza and sharing the pies. “This is part of our dream,” says Deb. “To have people come in and dine with us and enjoy our food fresh out of the oven and have the option to relax over a glass of beer or wine is something we have worked hard for.” Mark agreed with his wife that the dining room was something for which they were more than ready. “It hasn’t been in our timing, it’s God’s timing,” says Mark. “We are so excited that our customers can now come in and enjoy the pizza at its peak of freshness.”