THE DISH: Franco's Pizza


Franco's Pizza

Franco's Pizza


• Chicken bacon ranch pizza — Ranch sauce with grilled chicken, red onions and bacon, $12.49 for a medium

• Rotini pasta — Cheese, alfredo sauce and two toppings, $7.89

• The Italian pizza crust sandwich — Ham, salami, red onions, green peppers, mozzarella and Italian dressing, $6.89

• Spinach salad — Spinach, pecans, feta cheese, bacon, croutons and raspberry vinaigrette, $6.89 for large

1365 Grayson Highway, Lawrenceville



Open Since: September 2010

Owners: Mark and Deb Petersen

Location: Franco's is located next to Race Trac at the intersection of Grayson Highway and Webb Gin House Road.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays

Atmosphere: Franco's Pizza isn't a sit-down restaurant -- only deliver and take out. If you decide to take out, order your meal at the counter. While you're waiting, you can peer into the kitchen and watch the staff prepare your food.

The small front room has a cooler with 2-liter bottles of Coke products. There is a soda fountain machine with a larger variety of beverages. The Petersens also have a Lawrenceville Co-op collection bin for those who want to donate nonperishable items.

While Mark Petersen rules the kitchen, his wife Deb keeps the front of house under control. With Deb at the register, she talks regularly with guests, including all of the students from the local schools. The couple tries to show their support towards the schools by passing out pizza certificates for students who have shown excellence in the academics.

Menu: In this kitchen, everything is made from scratch. Mark Petersen makes multiple batches of homemade dough a day. He throws all of the ingredients -- including extra virgin olive oil -- into his industrial size mixer. While one batch combines, he works another batch. The dough is carefully rolled and weighed, then placed in plastic containers to rise.

When an order comes up, Petersen rolls out the dough extra thin, New York style, ladles on pizza sauce and spreads on some toppings. Instead of putting the pizzas in a typical oven, the pies head straight to the pizza conveyor belt oven, which cooks them rapidly.

The Petersens also make the pizza sauce by hand, but the one thing they are most proud of creating is their alfredo sauce.

"Want to know the first two ingredients? First we use butter and then we add butter," Deb Petersen said with a laugh. "Then we throw in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese."

The Petersens care about the quality of their products. All of the vegetables come in fresh, which the owners and their staff cut, chop and julienne by hand. Each time they chop Romaine lettuce, they shock it in cold water to keep the greens fresh and crisp. They have also been through more than 10 different types of olives finding the right ones.

"You think all olives are the same," Deb Petersen said. "You'd be surprised that they're not."

Things you might not know: Deb Petersen shakes every student's hand when they come in with a certificate for a pizza.