Local pizza places stay involved

Raniero’s Pizzeria and Mellow Mushroom may have pizza in common, but both are vastly unique when it comes to the styles of pizza and NKU participation. From Mellow Mushroom sponsoring the “mellow minute” at basketball games to the crazy college nights at Raniero’s, these pizza restaurants are proving their desire to be more involved in NKU students’ lives.
Concerning their customer base, Raniero’s, located in the Martha Layne Collins Boulevard shopping center, has two different aspects to their business. They classify themselves as a family restaurant but also try their best to appeal to college students.
“Students are a huge part of our business,” said Raniero’s general manager Natalie Ramirez.  “They choose to have their fundraisers here, they choose to come here for entertainment, which is good because they can go anywhere.”
Raniero’s offers 10 percent off a meal with a student I.D., allowing students to indulge in their award-winning pizza, the Amore. Catering to students is a huge part of the work that Ramirez does at Raniero’s.
“We have a college night on Thursday nights,” said Ramirez. “Then we also have live music on Fridays and Saturdays, which caters to students and the community.”
Ramirez describes Raniero’s college nights as crowded and wild where students can purchase $1 draft beers, $6 pitchers of draft beer and often shot specials as well.
“I give them [college students] good drink specials and food prices,” said Ramirez, “because they are college students and they live on a budget.”
Mellow Mushroom in Wilder, Ky. has taken a slightly different approach when it comes to pizza and student involvement.
“We do the Best Buddies program,” said Mellow Mushroom kitchen manager Brian Stone.
Stone stated that this program is about pairing up students with special needs with a buddy to ensure they get to the correct classes on time and get them to their rides at night.
“Every three months… We bring them down here and let their families come into the back [kitchen] and actually let them make their own pizza with their family,” Stone explained.
Mellow Mushroom’s menu includes 19 signature pizzas, the newest called the Tie-Dye, and 89 different beers, 39 of which are on tap. Students have had an opportunity to try some of Mellow Mushroom’s food at many of the NKU home basketball games.
“We have a mellow minute,” said Stone. “It’s the first time-out of the second half, if NKU hits a three-pointer [there is a clock that runs], everybody in the building gets a free appetizer.”
Mellow Mushroom is following in Raniero’s footsteps with a student discount of 10 percent off currently in the works.
“It’s new [Mellow Mushroom’s relationship with NKU] but we are working to build a bigger and better relationship with NKU,” said Stone.