CINCINNATI — When LPH Pizza Co. opens for business Saturday, it will look to deliver more than just food to its Lower Price Hill neighborhood.
The pizzeria at 712 State Ave. hopes to play an integral part in the neighborhood's growth, said its owners.
“I am all about revitalizing the community because I live here,” said co-owner Damien Fields. “The reason why we did this is because I believe in this neighborhood. There is potential here.”
LPH Pizza Co. is the outgrowth of Fields Associates Inc., a professional services company that Fields started 2013 in Lower Price Hill with co-founder Christine Collins and partner Joseph Price. Fields Associates signed a one-year lease to open the pizzeria with a philanthropic twist.
The location was previously home to the former Bloc Head Pizza restaurant. BLOC Industries, which owns the building, opened that pizzeria in 2014 with a similar mission of employing local residents and offering good food in the neighborhood. Bloc Head Pizza closed earlier this year.
“This pizza place used to be open and people raved about it,” Fields said. “After reviewing information provided to us by the former owners, we’ve decided to offer extended hours and services.”
Those services include deliveries within a 2.5-mile radius and an expanded menu featuring pizza, wings, pasta, desserts, salads and sandwiches.
Fields and Collins said a majority of employees hired and trained for Saturday’s opening are from Lower Price Hill. Fields said the pizzeria’s hiring practices are designed to give people work who might otherwise find it difficult to land a job.
“There are very limited things that would disqualify people from employment from our company,” he said.
Fields has worked in various restaurants for a decade. Collins, who grew up in California, Kentucky, brings 15 years of food-service experience to help with kitchen and business operations.
“I have done everything from fast food to fine dining,” Collins said. "It was just something I just got into in college. It just kind of stuck. It is all that I know. I love doing it.”
The social mission of LPH Pizza Co., and Fields’ passion to help his own neighborhood, is a bonus, Collins said.
“I’m a little country girl,” Collins said. “My parents were very wary of coming Downtown. It was a whole new world for me coming down here. Everyone is super friendly. There is always someone offering help when we are outside.”
A grand opening ceremony will take place outside the pizzeria at 10:30 a.m. Saturday before the restaurant’s doors open at 11 a.m. Collins said there will be a reading and singing to mark the occasion.
“It is extremely exciting,” Collins said of opening her first restaurant. “We want to help the community. We are going to be very community-based and -oriented. We just want to see this community get better.”