Kristen Mitchell / Senior Lantern reporter
Onlookers have been caught doing a double-take after strolling past the newly renovated A Slice of New York pizza shop on High Street. Until major renovations were done during Spring Break last month, the restaurant had hardly changed in more than 25 years.
The independently owned restaurant located at 1812 N. High St. has been a campus staple since the previous owner Joe Graci moved to Columbus and opened the shop in January 1986.
Current owner Patt Miller, 24, worked at A Slice of New York for three years before saving up the money to purchase the store from Graci in 2008 when Garci was considering retirement. Miller was 20 years old at the time.
“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. How many 20-year-olds can say they own a business?” Miller said. “I was better at making pizza than going to school.”
The former Columbus State student said the renovations came out of a desire to leave his mark on the business.
“I (was the owner) here for four years without changing a thing,” Miller said. “Now I’m more proud of it because I made it something of my own.”
He also said the renovations – which cost him about $2,400 – were a necessity.
“I’ve already seen business increase. The cleaner look and the modern feel makes us more competitive. Before it was more of a hole in the wall, and now it’s a restaurant,” Miller said.
Miller said he believes the renovations will benefit the business because the added space will allow more customers to wait inside while in line to order, when customers had to wait outside he said it was an inconvenience that drove customers away during inclement weather.
Miller and his staff began renovations on March 18. Staff members worked for a week rebuilding the counters, moving plumbing lines, redoing walls, making solid wood tables, knocking out a back wall and adding lights and art to the store.
The changes added 154 square feet to the dining area, which more than doubled the previous space and increased seating by 60 percent.
When Graci was designing the store in 1986, he had considered two different designs. The one he originally rejected was the one Miller chose for the recent renovations, but Graci said he’s come around on it.
“I like it, but I wanted to do the New York thing with the pizza in the window. But it sounds to me like it’s a good change,” Graci said.
Miller said guests have been shocked by the drastic changes.
“People have walked in and literally walked back out to read the sign. It’s been crazy, so many people have been coming here for 25 years and nothing has changed,” he said.
Some students have been impressed by the restaurant’s new look.
“It’s great,” said Zach Smith, a fourth-year in computer science and engineering. “There’s a lot more room. It looks a lot nicer, that’s for sure.”
Miller said he has plans for only minor renovations in the imminent future.
“At this point we need to add more art or a customer photo wall, just cosmetic things,” he said. “There’s really not a better way to use the space we have.”