A plan that was 10 years in the making will come to fruition Monday when LaRosa’s officially opens in Hillsboro.
And if things go according to the plan for LaRosa’s, a Dunkin’ Donuts in Hillsboro may not be be too far behind.
“If we do well with LaRosa’s, we’ll definitely bring a Dunkin’ Donuts to Hillsboro, too,” said Tim O’Hara, the owner of the Hillsboro LaRosa’s, who also owns LaRosa’s and Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in Mt. Orab. “We’re glad to be part of the community. We believe it’s a give and take relationship. We support the community and they support us. It’s a longterm relationship.”
Backing up its community-minded claim, O’Hara said LaRosa’s plans to make a matching donation of all liquor sales Friday and Saturday, when it had soft openings for invited guests only, to the Hillsboro High School Athletic Department.
The Hillsboro LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria, located off of Harry Sauner Road, will officially open to the general public Monday, Oct. 22 with lunch service beginning at 11 a.m. The pizzeria features a more than 200-seat dining room with a full-service bar serving beer, wine and liquor, a pickup area and plenty of room for parties and meetings. The pizzeria will also deliver virtually everything from its menu of more than 40 selections within a limited area.
Shawn Shelton, general manager of the Hillsboro restaurant, said that area will likely be anywhere within 10 minutes of the restaurant, or about 7.5 miles.
It has been 10 years since O’Hara opened his first LaRosa’s in Mt. Orab.
“Ever since we opened Mt. Orab, my friends from Highland County would come visit and talk to me about opening a pizzeria in Hillsboro,” O’Hara said. “The right location came along at the right time, and here we are.”
LaRosa’s Hillsboro will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays.
Shelton said the restuarant has a staff of 101 employees, some full-time and some part-time. He said most of them are new, local hirees, including servers, cooks, drivers and other staff. He said they trained for two weeks in Mt. Orab and for the past week at the Hillsboro location.
“I would say word of mouth of the people is what will make us successful,” said Shelton, who started working for O’Hara 10 years ago as a delivery driver in Mt. Orab and worked his way up. “When people see how things have went as far the renovation (of the former Dakota’s location), and we pride ourselves on good service and good, quality food.”
He said that over the next month, LaRosa’s will send out 25,000 mailers to local residents for a free cheesy flatbread for dine-in and carry-out customers.
At the Hillsboro location, the bar area is mostly partitioned off from the rest of the restaurant. In addition to the bar area, there is a main dining area and two other dining areas that can be used for parties or meetings.
O’Hara emphasized that the restaurant will maintain a kid- and family-friendly atmosphere. As part of that, he said that on Wednesday evenings kids can make their own pizza. He said waiters will bring the dough, sauce and cheese to the customers’ table, the kids can create their pizza, then it will be taken back to the ovens to bake.
While it is closed for now, O’Hara said he plans to open the patio at the front of the pizzeria in the spring.
In addition to pizza, the LaRosa’s menu also includes calzones, hoagys, pasta, appetizers, salads, soups, desserts and kids meals, and is available for dine in, pick-up or delivery.
LaRosa’s was founded in 1954 on Cincinnati’s West Side by Buddy LaRosa. It is now a $165 million restaurant company with 64 pizzerias serving neighborhoods in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.