Marco’s Pizza comes to Hixson

Fun is the focus at Marco’s Pizza in Hixson, the franchise’s 501st store. It’s the third in the area, with stores already established in Dalton, Ga., and Cleveland, Tenn.

“We think pizza should be fun again,” said Marco’s field representative Mark Ranzinger. “People have forgotten about that.”

Chef Marco, the restaurant’s mascot, is available for parties and makes an appearance at Marco’s each Monday for photos and autographs.

“We do a lot of activities with schools,” Ranzinger said.

The restaurant offers delivery within a 3-mile radius and a dining area that seats 68, as well as a private party room.

Suhash Patel, restaurant owner and Marco’s area representative, said he chose to locate the store in Hixson because he has lived in the area since 1998.

“It’s a good community area, which is where we thrive,” Ranzinger added.

Patel said part of what makes Marco’s pizza different is that the dough is made every day from scratch. The restaurant also makes its own sauce from fresh tomatoes grown especially for Marco’s at a farm in California, adding a secret blend of spices.

The blend of three cheeses used on Marco’s pizza is also secret, and each large pizza is loaded with a half-pound, said Ranzinger. He also said the meats used by the restaurant contain no fillers.

“We only use the heartiest and most robust meats,” said Ranzinger, adding that Marco’s is the only pizza franchise that was started by an Italian immigrant. “We only use pure, 100-percent-real ingredients.”

Patel said Lee University in Cleveland does a pizza taste test every year and the Marco’s there has been No. 1 for two years in a row. According to Ranzinger, Marco’s has been the country’s fastest-growing pizza franchise for the past five years.

“People either love us or they haven’t tried us,” Ranzinger said, adding that the same pizza and quality is guaranteed at every location.

The White Cheezy pizza, which is topped with the secret three-cheese blend plus feta, bacon, onions, sliced tomatoes and garlic butter sauce, recently beat out Wolfgang Puck in a taste test, said Ranzinger.

His favorites are the Pepperoni Magnifico, topped with two kinds of pepperoni and an extra layer of cheese, and the Chicken Fresco, topped with the three-cheese blend plus cheddar, grilled chicken, bacon, onions and sliced tomatoes. All Marco’s pizza comes with free crust toppers and a dipping sauce such as jalapeno ranch, he added.

Marco’s also offers wings, subs, salads and cheesy bread.