Fresh Cheese, Sauce and ‘Secret’ Dough are a Winning Combination
No doubt if you have been in the Nashville area for any amount of time you’ve been lucky enough to have a piece of Mafiaoza’s mouthwatering pizza. Up until a year ago, to take advantage of Two for One Tuesdays—two beers or two slices of pie for the price of one—you had to head all the way to 12 South. Now you can toss the kids in the car after soccer practice and feed the whole family while kicking back with an adult libation and leave the clean-up for someone else—all while staying close to home. Sitting in front of The Factory at Franklin, the newer Mafiaoza’s location is easy to find, and parking is ample.
Up until owners Lars Kopperud, Mike Dolan and Randy Smith revamped the old Jameson Furniture Warehouse business office, it was a series of other restaurants that didn’t appreciate the location or the richness of the history of the facility. But now, the history and character of the old house add to the ambiance. To your left leading up to the second floor, you can see the hand-laid copper piping used as railings. Glancing behind the downstairs bar, you’ll see a gleaming, substantial turn-of-the-century vault. It’s not a prop to amp up the character. The vault is original to the house and was the working vault for Jameson Furniture. It has now, smartly, been turned into a wine cellar.
A restaurant that takes it environment as seriously as Mafiaoza’s takes its food even more so. The recipe for the pizza dough alone took months of research and development among the owners more than a decade and a half ago. Rumor has it, there is a secret in the dough, but don’t set your sights on finding out what it is—or isn’t! In addition to the unique, in-house flavor the pizzas are created with, you’ll be able to taste and support local farmers. When in season, the tomatoes for the homemade pizza sauce are sourced via a very short walk around the corner to the Franklin Farmers Market. Mafiaoza’s takes the extra step to make their own mozzarella. A pizza with a secret dough recipe, topped with a homemade sauce using local ingredients and cheese so fresh it was fresh milk just hours before, sounds and tastes magnificent.
Rarely can you find a restaurant seeking to incorporate the roots of its town like Mafiaoza’s. The owners have not forgotten what the beautiful town of Franklin was built on and seek out projects that support those industries. Being a part of a CMT “Crossroads” special allowed Mafiaoza’s to show appreciation to the heritage that helped cement Nashville and Franklin in the history of country music.
Not only has Mafiaoza’s invested in the physical location in Franklin, but it has invested in the people as supporters and sponsors in some of the town’s favorite activities. Seeking out partnerships and connections within the community is an immediate and long-term goal. Mafiaoza’s proudly supports Tennessee Soccer Club, the Maverick’s Baseball team and the Franklin Fieldhouse. No stranger to immersing themselves in the community, the staff is made up predominantly of local folks, not something that can be said for much of Middle Tennessee. You could easily spot the high school student from down the street learning and being guided with a fatherlike hand by Lars himself.
A refreshing step outside of the standard meat and three or Nashville hot chicken that Nashville is stereotypically known for, Mafiaoza’s is changing the local food landscape—one slice of pizza at a time.