Zacky’s to go
Pizza in Auburn an offshoot from Meredith
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Zacky’s Pizzeria, which opened this past spring in Meredith, has opened a second location at the Myles Travel Plaza in Auburn.
“It seems crazy,” owner Dave Elliot said of opening two restaurants in this economy. “I’m very proud of what we’ve done. Hopefully we can be an example that if you manage your budget and keep a tight eye on your finances, you can make it.”
While the Meredith Zacky’s seats 40 people and features sports memorabilia on the walls, the Auburn location is inside a truck stop where people fill up with Sunoco fuel, buy snacks and lottery tickets, and get a coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts set up next to the pizzeria’s counter. There are no seats. The one sports-themed element to make its way into the new spot is the staff uniform — old-fashioned pinstriped baseball shirts. (Elliot made sure they were striped in black and not in blue like that evil team from New York.)
The sports mania comes from Elliot’s years in sports management and as a coach. He twice coached the number- one girls’ Class L soccer team — once at Manchester’s Memorial High School and the other at Trinity High School. He has taken a year off from coaching to get Zacky’s up and running, but plans to return to it somewhere next fall.
Elliot and his wife Rachel first considered opening an ice cream shop, but they got the idea to open a pizza place instead from a friend who owns one in Hillsboro. The name comes from their son, Zachary — a nine-year-old who plays three sports.
Zacky’s is probably best known for the pizza, with a crust that is not thick but also not thin — somewhere in between. The most popular ones are the Greek (feta cheese, tomatoes, black olives and oregano) and the Zacky’s Special (pepperoni, ham, salami, mushrooms, onions, sausage, tomatoes, green peppers and black olives). Customers also like subs made with Rachel’s marinated steak tips. Almost everything — the dough, sauce, meatballs, etc. — is made in house. The sauce has one secret ingredient — guess what it is and Elliot will give you a free pizza. Soon they will offer soups and chili in bread bowls, and clam chowder on Fridays.
The recipes come from Elliot, Rachel and the staff — everyone is always trying a new idea. “Recipes are a lot like coaching,” Elliot said. “You steal the best recipes you can and then mix in your own ideas to make something different.”
Each location has its own clientele. In the Lakes Region, it is a mix of locals and summer tourists. The new spot sees people usually on their way to somewhere else and Elliot said it is fun to meet the truck drivers and others who pass through. He said, “It’s great. They come in and talk with us. We hear stories from all over the country.”