NEARBY: Owner Speaks Out on Pizza Sola Closing in Cranberry
Jim Aiello says the independent operation couldn’t compete with the lower prices of chain shops in the area.
After just about two years, Pizza Sola is calling it quits in Cranberry.
Located in the Oak Tree Plaza on Route 19, the restaurant closed for good Saturday. A sign on the door says the business is for sale.
“It just wasn’t performing up to the standards of our other stores,” said Pizza Sola owner James R. Aiello, of Aiello Development Company, LLC in Pittsburgh.
The restaurant has three other locations, which remain open in Pittsburgh. The Cranberry restaurant was the first Pizza Sola located outside of the city, Aiello said. The other locations are in Oakland, South Side and East Liberty.
Aiello said the concept of buying pizza by the slice, which is popular at Pizza Sola’s walkable locations in Pittsburgh, never caught on in Cranberry, where residents were more likely to buy a whole pie.
Then there was the cost factor.
Aiello said the restaurant uses all homemade toppings and sauces. Although the pizza by the slice was comparable to other area pizza prices, the price for an entire Pizza Sola pie was costly when matched up against pizza chains in the area, Aiello said.
“There are all those national guys,” he said. “We can’t compete.”
Aiello said he decided to open a Pizza Sola in Cranberry because of the restaurant’s location near the Turnpike exit on busy Route 19, which he assumed would attract commuters stopping by the store for slices. When that didn’t happen, Aiello said he began offering delivery services last May, but it already was too late.
The restaurant did not have the funds to market the delivery services properly, he said.
“I thought we were trading walking pedestrians for cars,” he said. “I thought we would fit well in that region, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Aiello said he is hoping to attract a new restaurant owner to the Cranberry location to fill out the remainder of the lease. He added he is disappointed Pizza Sola closed in the area.
“I’m working to replace someone in there as quickly as possible,” he said. “I wish we could have made a better run of it.”
Tell us, will you miss Pizza Sola? Are you disappointed the Cranberry restaurant closed? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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