Detroit-style-pizza lover opens local restaurant’s first franchise
Job change is inevitable, and the exit signs are usually clear. It could be a boss finally losing their cool, or a valued coworker leaves and it’s hard to imagine going to work without them. Or maybe someone at a party mentions a mutual friend who just abandoned a dream job, leaving the seat vacant.
That’s most folks. But others see their future career in the form of a steaming pizza. That’s what happened to Andria Lassiter, who recently opened an Arden outpost of popular Hendersonville pizza parlor Pi-Squared — the restaurant’s first franchise.
Specializing in Detroit-style pizza, the original Pi-Squared particularly appealed to Lassiter, who’s from Motor City and moved to the area ten years ago “for a great job and a fresh start.” But she smelled a new opportunity the moment she sat down for a slice.
I understand you’ve had quite the career change …
After years working in corporate America, the idea of becoming a small-business owner was incredibly attractive. I have always wanted to do something on my own, and this gives me the autonomy to do that with a product I’m passionate about, in an area that I love.
How did you decide on adopting a franchise of Pi-Squared?
After moving away from the Detroit area, I experienced good pizza, interesting pizza — but never the amazing pizza of my childhood. So when I saw Pi-Squared, I thought, “Alright, how’s this going to stack up against the real stuff?” And my mind was blown. I loved the pizza before I even met the people making it [the original restaurant is owned by fellow Detroit native Karen Ostrowski]. The flavor-profile depth brought me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen table.
The square pizza is, of course, our specialty, but we still have the traditional round pizzas, plus thin [crust] and gluten-free options. Wings are also a really popular item on our Hendersonville menu, and the subs and salads are great, too. But the Detroit-style pizza and the wings are the must-haves.
What is it about Detroit pizza that sets it apart?
It’s the best pizza on earth. We make our proprietary dough in-house daily. It’s stretched and allowed to rise for a few hours, then baked in a steel pan brushed with EVOO. This allows the dough itself to be very light and airy inside with a crisp golden brown bottom and sides. The toppings go all the way to the edge, including the cheese that melts and caramelizes in the oven. The sauce goes on top of the pizza toppings rather than under, so every bite tastes a little different.
Speaking of different, will the new location differ from the original location in atmosphere?
Karen has an amazing fast-casual concept in Hendersonville that I am [replicating in] Arden. The building has been completely renovated, but much of the décor has been hand-picked and brought down by my parents — straight from Detroit.
Pi-Squared Pizza, 2615 Hendersonville Road, Arden: pizza, calzones, salads, subs, frozen custard, and beer and wine. Dine-in, pickup, and delivery; order online, in person, by app, or by phone. For more information, call 828-676-0231 or see pi-squaredarden.com.