Enjoy exploring a slice of local history with Jim Ellison, author of Columbus Pizza, and Brad Rocco of Bexley Pizza Plus.
Pizza came to Columbus back in the 1930s when TAT Ristorante began serving it. A specific style evolved guided by local pizza pioneers which culminated in Columbus being crowned the pizza capital of the USA in the 1990s. Some Bexley pizza parlors featured include Rubino’s and Bexley Pizza Plus.
Jim Ellison's first slice of pizza was from Dante's in Clintonville. He was four or five years old. By fourth grade, he was a convert. He fondly recalls Pizza Quick on english muffins and Stouffer's French Bread Pizza in middle school, plus plenty of Franco's, Villa Nova, Pizza House and Iacono's in high school. College introduced him to Flying Pizza and Adriatico's, and eventually postgrad brought Hounddog's. You can follow Ellison's new discoveries and updates on Instagram: @CbusPizzaHistory
Brad Rocco spent his formative years in the same Bexley house that Bob Greene called home. He started working at Pizza Plus as a delivery driver in 1982 and became a co-owner in 1992. In 2002, Rocco was inspired to elevate his pizza prowess via the Columbus Pizza Challenge (Slice of Columbus today) when he won the First Place Judges Award. In 2003, Rocco and Jack Atlas took their Ultimate Pizza (two types of mushrooms and two types of pepperoni) to what was then called the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show (NAPICS) Pizza Pizzazz competition in Columbus. He went on to win many other competitions as a member of the US Pizza Team at the 2003 World Pizza Championship in Salsamaggiori, Italy and earned First Place in the Best Traditional Pizza Category/World Champion in 2014! Rocco helped put Columbus pizza on the map while keeping his roots in Bexley.