Officials see opening of pizza restaurant as step in south DeKalb revitalization

Although Dough Boy Pizza has been open at The Gallery at South DeKalb on Candler Road for a year, it held a grand opening on Dec. 15, marking its presence as part of what DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, one of the hosts of the event, called a major revitalization of the mall and the surrounding area.

“I’m not sure which district this is,” said Cochran-Johnson, who represents DeKalb County’s super district 7. “It doesn’t matter. I want to see all of DeKalb County thrive.”

Radio personality and philanthropist Ryan Cameron, who co-owns the franchise with chef and entrepreneur Erica Barrett, explained that the decision to open a Dough Boy Pizza in the south DeKalb County mall’s food court was about more than the Italian-style pies. “It’s not just about pizza—it’s about community. Choosing DeKalb County was intentional, and as we cut the ribbon, it’s a toast to the unique pizza journey we’re embarking on together. Here’s to savoring the goodness, the growth, and being a part of the exciting transformation of south DeKalb,” Cameron said.

Although opening the eatery is an effort to support the community, according to Cameron, the product is special as well. The culinary venture, he noted, features authentic Neapolitan pizza with crust imported from Italy. Cameron explained that the pizzas are prepared using a special process that delivers fresh pizza just minutes after the customer orders it. “We use 660-degree ovens that are really better than the brick ovens that classic pizzas are made in,” he said.

The mark of a high-quality pizza, Cameron said, is that it’s not just delicious when it’s hot out of the oven, but also good when eaten as leftovers. “You can have this cold as breakfast the next day,” he declared. “It’s still good.”

The preparation method isn’t the only thing innovative about Dough Boy Pizza Co., Cameron continued. Rather than giving an order to a staff member, patrons enter their order on a screen then complete it as a cashless transaction. The franchise is the first in the metro-Atlanta area.

Dough Boy Pizza offers what Cameron described as “unique pizza varieties,” all made with a vegan crust. Menu items include pies with such colorful names as “the master counterfeiter”—a vegan pizza—or the wise guys—another all-vegetable offering. For those who like meat toppings, the “good fellas,” has four meats in addition to red sauce and mozzarella. There also is the “Villa Christina Hawaiian,” the “new godfather,” “godfather of Harlem,” and “the Frank Sinatra.” There are 17 such signature pizzas or customers may create their own, choosing from among three crust types, a red or white sauce, 16 toppings, and six drizzles.

“Ryan’s presence here brings great hope for the future of this area,” Cochran-Johnson said. The Gallery at South DeKalb, which opened 1968, has experienced the closure of its anchor stores and the loss of many of its food court restaurants. Dough Boy Pizza opened in a space that has been vacant since the sandwich shop previously there closed six years ago. At present the mall is 70 percent occupied, the commissioner said.

Explaining his decision to open a pizza business, Cameron commented, “There were three types of restaurants that continued to thrive during the pandemic—wings, Chinese food, and pizza. I wanted a food business that would endure even during hard times.”

“Ryan could have opened his pizza company anywhere, but he chose DeKalb County,” Cochran-Johnson said. “The ribbon-cutting event is monumental, and I look forward to many more successful years to come. South DeKalb Mall is in the process of a major revitalization, and I consider Dough Boy Pizza a part of the new South DeKalb. I hope his presence encourages other small business owners to look at South DeKalb for their business location because we need more food options. I am eternally grateful to Ryan for answering the call.”


One thought on “Officials see opening of pizza restaurant as step in south DeKalb revitalization

  • January 3, 2024 at 7:31 am

    Better make sure the rats are taken care of or it will be a poor investment.


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