Editor’s note: This is the sixth in an occasional series on businesses that have established themselves in Mount Pleasant.
Jim Jacobs isn’t worried about the challenge posed by the various other pizzerias which dot Mount Pleasant.
“Nobody’s ever tasted a pizza like this,” boasted the proprietor of Pisanello’s Pizza, 110 N. Main St.
Since 1969, Jacobs has owned the only Pisanello’s Pizza in Michigan, and many of his loyal customers say it’s the best pizza in town.
The Pisanello’s chain began in Ohio in 1955 and has spread to 19 locations in Ohio and Michigan.
With his unique sauce and customer base, Jacobs considers Pisanello’s a fixture in the community.
“Once I get people to try my pizza, they usually come back,” Jacobs said.
The business began in 1967, but Jacobs became owner two years later, after working for a Pisanello’s Pizza in Bowling Green, Ohio.
“It’s the only thing I know how to do,” Jacobs said. “And it works.”
Sunny Meisel of Mount Pleasant has been going to Pisanello’s once a week for five years.
“It’s the best deal in town for lunch,” Meisel said.
Most of Pisanello’s customers are local, Jacobs said, and some spend several thousand dollars with him each year.
He said he doesn’t fret when other pizza places come to town because his customers always end up back in his restaurant.
Booths and tables line the walls and Jacobs said he gets a good amount of business from his lunch buffet.
Kent and Jackie Randall, of Clare, come to Pisanello’s once a week. The two work in downtown Mount Pleasant and said it is in a convenient location to eat.
The quality, quick service and friendly environment keep them coming back, Kent Randall said.
Joel Jacobs, Jim’s son and manager of the pizzeria, has worked at Pisanello’s since he was 16. He said a lot of people like the fact that they have been a fixture in the downtown community for so long.
The biggest difference in the business is the quality of the food, Joel Jacobs said.
“The homemade style of the pizza (makes us different),” he said. “It’s not cardboard pizza.”
Mount Pleasant resident Emily Cook has frequented Pisanello’s for about a year and said it is probably the best pizza in town.
When Jim Jacobs first started at Pisanello’s, there were only two or three other pizza places in town, he said. But now there is more competition.
“The biggest problem is most people haven’t heard of us,” Jim Jacobs said.
Advertising is expensive, and he has to be very careful how he spends his money, he said.
Half of the business is delivery. Many calls come from the residence halls at Central Michigan University, and the drivers bring the pizza directly to the room, Jim said.
Because of the large local following, Jim Jacobs said the restaurant’s sales are not affected that much when college students leave town for the summer.
“We’ve been able to maintain sales (in spite of) since the change,” he said.