By Morgan Bryce
A new pizzeria is slated to open in downtown Opelika later this year.
Dough, a business venture of Zazu Gastropub Owner Graham Hage, will open in the former home of Jimmy’s Restaurant at 104 S. 8th St.
“That name just spoke to me because great pizza is all about the dough. It’s nice, simple and to the point, which is something I hope people like,” Hage said.
Since relocating Zazu from Auburn to Opelika in October 2015, Hage said the building at 104 S. 8th St. had always intrigued him as a place to open a second business. Shortly after Jimmy’s closed that same month, however, an Auburn family purchased the property, temporarily closing the window on his idea.
Through months of conversation and discussion on his ideas for the space, Hage was able to sell the building’s owners on his vision and sign a contract for the 2,500 square-foot building in early April this year.
Much of the framework and plumbing on the interior is complete, along with a large installed wood-burning grill, giving Hage a jumpstart on readying Dough for its planned opening at the start of football season.
The menu is still under development, but Hage said Dough’s focus will be specialty pizzas. One of those specialty styles is “Napoletana,” a traditional Italian pizza that he and his team will prepare in the wood-burning grill.
“With Napoletana pizzas there are limited ingredients (and an) under 90-second cook time (using) a super hot wood fire,” Hage said.
When possible, Hage said he will try to use locally sourced ingredients like he currently does at Zazu. Items like mozzarella cheese will be made in-house at Dough.
Upon opening, Hage said he plans to have 12 beers on-tap, which will mostly be sourced from across-the-tracks neighbors Red Clay and Resting Pulse breweries.
Instead of traditional images of trains to commemorate the city’s railroad legacy, Hage said the artwork and decor inside Dough will mimic the graffiti that adorn the sides of trains that pass through the town on daily basis, something he has come to admire during his last four years of living and working in Opelika.
“I believe this concept ties into the train theme but just in a different way than it’s been done in other places,” Hage said.
Atmosphere is another important element in Hage’s ideas for Dough.
“There’s nothing like this within a good radius and it’s going to be a really fun, relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere with the graffiti and upbeat music that will play in the background,” Hage said.
Dough’s official opening date and time, along with its hours of operation, will be released later this year. Hage said the pizzeria’s social media pages will be launched sometime this summer.
Follow the Observer for updates on Dough and its planned opening.