After games at South Forsyth Middle School, brothers Jacob and Justin Patterson would often head to Lanier Crossing with friends and family for some pizza at Stevie B’s Pizza Buffet, which was later replaced by Cicis Pizza.
“Have fond memories of the arcade room … coming with a full group of friends,” Jacob said.
Cicis eventually left Lanier Crossing, and the place of so many memories for Jacob and Justin was vacant for almost two years.
Until now. The brothers are set to open Your Pie, a fast-casual pizza chain restaurant, on Friday, April 26 at 655 Atlanta Road.
Your Pie claims to have created the customizable brick-oven pizzeria experience, and it’s catching on, with 70 locations across the country and 50 more in development, according to company representatives.
Jacob and Justin were on the ground floor when it started. The brothers went to the University of Georgia after graduating from South Forsyth High School, Jacob to study business management and Justin to study finance. They were on campus when the first Your Pie opened in Athens in 2008.
They’d go “almost on a weekly basis,” Justin said. They’d get in line and walk down the queue to choose each element of their pizza from fresh ingredients
“I always thought to myself, ‘Man, what a great business concept,’” Justin said. “It’s simple, and the food’s great.”
The brothers went separate ways after college. Justin went into the finance world in North Carolina. Jacob stayed in the metro Atlanta and flipped houses.
But the close siblings — the youngest of four are just a year-and-a-half apart in age — both started to grow restless. Justin was eager to move back to Georgia and satisfy his entrepreneurial itch. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s increasingly strong real estate market was making it hard for a one-man operation like Jacob to thrive against large investment companies.
“We were finally like, ‘You know, why don’t we look into that Your Pie concept from school?’” Justin said.
In early 2016, the brothers took over a struggling Your Pie franchise location in Roswell. They worked long hours to retrain staff, with an emphasis on first-rate customer service, and in a year, improved sales by 30 percent.
The success convinced the brothers they were on the right track, and they resolved to expand up Ga. 400.
In late 2017, they opened a brand-new Your Pie in Milton off Atlanta Highway.
Forsyth County seemed like a natural place to open a third location. They’ll use hand-tossed doughs, fresh ingredients, homemade pizza sauces and salad dressings with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options along with paninis. The store will also offer local craft beer, including some from Cherry Street Brewing, and Italian-style gelato.
They’re drawing on their familiarity with the area for its ‘Dine and Donate’ soft-opening event on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to help raise funds for No Longer Bound, a local nonprofit dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of those struggling with addiction.
Customers can sign up for a slot to dine during lunch (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) or dinner (5-7 p.m.) at the store’s Facebook page and eat a free entree with a donation to No Longer Bound.
The brothers have known people who suffered from addiction or died from overdoses, they said, even from their own graduating classes at South.
“This whole area has been so affected by the opioid epidemic,” Justin said. “... Our hope is that we’ll raise some substantial money that will help someone in [No Longer Bound’s] program.”
Two hundred slots are available each day for lunch and dinner. The brothers hope to get a healthy crowd that would give their new staff ample practice, raise money for a good cause and make the first fond memories for local families in the same place Jacob and Justin made so many of their own.
“It’s cool to come back to a community that you grew up in,” Justin said. “... We’re looking at it like, ‘Hey, we’re bringing jobs back and hopefully creating a spot for families to make new memories in.”