Entering Raniero’s Pizzeria is like walking into the classic Italian kitchen. Family pictures cover the walls, giving a sense of welcome to this local establishment, and that’s how the owners strive to make you feel — like family.
Raniero’s offers a stone-baked, New York-style pizza sold by the pie or slice. It’s the recipe that appeals to Ali Hedges, a junior elementary education major at Northern Kentucky University.
“As someone who is not from the area, Raniero’s has some of the best local pizza compared to their competitors,” Hedges said.
Raniero’s appeals to a college student’s budget by offering $1 slices from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. The shop owners also offer a “Crunch Time Special” every day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The special includes a beverage, one slice of pizza and a side salad for $7.25.
And then there is the 24-inch pizza pie challenge.
“My brother is a huge fan of the show ‘Man v. Food,’ so when he decided to open the restaurant he wanted to incorporate some type of eating challenge,” manager Natalie Howard Ramirez said. “It is a 24-inch pie that a team of two has to eat in 10 minutes or less. Around 20 to 30 teams have attempted it, and only eight have succeeded in completing it. The record is seven minutes and 23 seconds.”
Since its opening in December 2009, Raniero’s has seen a rise in popularity that has prompted the expansion to the empty space next door to its current location.
“We’ve had a booming business and we are very fortunate to get the space to expand. We weren’t sure if any spot would ever open up in this complex, so we’re lucky it did,” Ramirez said. “We will be able to seat over 100 patrons.”
Ramirez said they plan to stay true to the family atmosphere; and with the expansion, they also want to cater more to college students.
“We’re going to be a full-service restaurant and bar, so we’re most likely going to implement a College Night one night of the week where we will offer $1 beer and $1 slices of pizza. We’re also considering things like a karaoke night and live music,” Ramirez said. “There’s not much to do right by campus, so we definitely want to appeal to the college students as well as families.”
Raniero’s goal is to open the doors to their new establishment by Dec. 1. But if not, they’re hoping to be ready to open by Jan. 1 at the latest.
Senior psychology major Courtney Poulelis is excited for the renovations. “I like that Raniero’s is planning on expanding. I definitely think it will bring more awareness to their restaurant, especially if they have a college night. I would definitely go.”