Company News

Cocca’s Pizza Finds Help in New Neighbor

CANFIELD, Ohio — When the opportunity came up to move the Cocca’s Pizza shop from 76 N. Broad Street and build a brand new building at the intersection of Shields Road and state Route 46, owner Steve Cocca jumped at it. He bought the property in June 2016, had the design and knew what he wanted to do, all he needed was enough space to satisfy Canfield Township’s zoning regulations.

The property was big enough for the restaurant … almost. Township regulations demand a business have enough parking spaces to accommodate its size. And while the township’s Planning and Zoning Department worked with Cocca to modify his design, he still needed some 50 feet to have enough room for 53 parking spaces, including two handicapped spots.

Bill and Connie Steele have owned the 3.67 acres of property around the shop since 1980. So, Cocca knocked on their door, introduced himself and told them what he needed to make the new pizza shop happen. Steele, a fan of Cocca’s steak salad, didn’t need much convincing. He sold the needed land for an undisclosed sum and Cocca’s broke ground in August 2017.

“I’m looking forward to when it’s open,” said Steele, who’s been assured free delivery to his back porch. “I never thought I’d see something on the corner like this.”

He won’t have to wait long. Cocca looks to have the shop open the week of July 17, he said. The building itself is up and workers were laying the concrete sidewalk around the structure last Friday.

Like the Cocca’s Pizza in Boardman, the new Canfield location will have a full-service restaurant and bar, Cocca said, as well as an arcade for kids. The eight ovens will be able to produce double the number of pizzas than the former Canfield shop — 56 every 15 minutes to be exact, he said.

While the carryout and delivery pizza business is still Cocca’s bread and butter, he said the addition of full-service dining and bar has been an exciting thing to watch grow in the last five years. The restaurant sits 100, plus a patio section on the northwest side of the building, which will give diners a nice view of the sunset, he said.

“The sunset is gorgeous,” he said. “We’re real excited to be able to sit out there and watch it.”

The menu will be similar to the Boardman location with pasta and Friday fish dinners, as well as carryout beer and wine, he added.

The new restaurant will be the eighth Cocca’s Pizza location coming on the heels of the Cortland location opening in March and the Mineral Ridge location in June. Cocca’s Pizza started in 1982 with Cocca’s parents, Nick and Tina. Nick Cocca died in 1992, “But my mom is still here every day making sure we’re doing things the way she’s always done it,” he said.

Cocca operated the N. Broad Street location for 12 years, but only offered carryout and delivery. He credits the community and his staff for the success that allowed him to expand his offerings in Canfield. Cocca employed 25 at the former location and expects to increase that to 40, he said. He currently employs a little more than 200 across all locations.

“The Canfield community has been great to us,” he said. “We’re real excited to move in here and watch our company grow.”

Township zoning was “phenomenal to work with,” and helped Cocca throughout the entire process, he said. “I encourage businesses to come here and do things with Canfield Township,” he said.

Many residents who live “right down the road” are eager to see the restaurant opened, he said. With restaurants like The Village Pump and The Phoenix Fire Grille and Bar within walking distance, Cocca said he’d like to see the sR 46 corridor become “a restaurant row.”

As for the Steeles, Cocca said he’s looking forward to serving his new next-door neighbors, especially now that their grandson, Nick, will be working at the new restaurant.

“I feel I owe them lifetime pizza,” Cocca said with a laugh. “You’ve always got to take care of your neighbors. They were really the ones who helped us to be able to put the dream together.”

Pictured: Bill Steele (left) and Steve Cocca from the Steele’s back porch. The new Cocca’s Pizza is under construction in the background.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.