NORTH TONAWANDA — Lumber City Pizza Company opened up shop Jan. 3 on Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda and just 26 days later, they officially became a fan favorite.
The company is “a big family affair,” owned and operated by Jon Cohen, his wife Colleen, and their four sons, Josh, Alex, Michael and Grant, the family patriarch said.
Soon after opening their doors, Jon said he was contacted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas to participate in Pizza Fest on Jan. 29. They took home third-place honors for both people’s choice best pizza and people’s choice best wings.
Jon said he was surprised at the acknowledgement from attendees at the event, but hopes it helps the restaurant stand apart from the location’s previous tenant, Pizza Junction.
“It just goes to show ... let the people try (our pizza) and I think they’ll like it rather than come in with a predetermined notion,” Jon said. “People come and they think that it’s Pizza Junction. You can’t duplicate something like (Pizza Junction’s pizza). It took the guy 40 years to build it.”
“We’re trying to do our thing and I think people will be happy down the road ... just give us a chance,” he added.
Doing their own thing includes a menu full of a variety of specialty pizzas that Jon describes as a mix between Chicago and Buffalo style.
“It’s a thicker crust. We put a lot more cheese and a lot more toppings than your traditional pizza,” he said.
The menu lists a dozen or so specialty pizzas, including a pulled pork pizza, eggplant and their Pizza Fest prize-winning Pittsburgh pizza, which includes Riviera dressing, chopped steak, seasoned French fries, melted provolone and cole slaw toppings.
Josh, one of Jon’s sons, said he feels like the Pittsburgh pizza could become a signature dish for the restaurant, which is why he picked it as the Lumber City Pizza Company’s entry for Pizza Fest.