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Fast, fresh, affordable pizza joint opens
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Uncle Maddio’s employees take orders after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new Dawsonville Highway “pizza joint” fed employees’ family members and others. Its soft opening is today. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint

What: Grand opening
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; get a free 9-inch, three-topping pizza; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday–Sunday
Where: 658 Dawsonville Highway, Suite B, Gainesville
More info: 678-780-3855

There’s one more pizza spot in Gainesville, with Uncle Maddio’s on Dawsonville Highway opening to the public today.

The “fast casual pizza joint” had its ribbon cutting Wednesday, followed by a sampling of its full menu of pizzas, paninis and salads.

Friends, family and community members lined the store, located in a shopping mall storefront between Best Buy and Five Guys near the highway's intersection with McEver Road, waiting to have their custom pizzas created in front of them.

“It’s truly gourmet pizza,” owner Briann Welborn said. “Everything here is custom made. There’s nothing here that we do not make from scratch on site. You can get our pizzas in less than seven minutes and under $7. You really can’t beat it.”

Welborn has worked in the restaurant business for 25 years, but this is the first one he’s owned.

“When I ran across Uncle Maddio’s, it was a good fit,” he said. “I’ve been prepared for a while to make the move and jump into my own business so this was a good opportunity.”

He said his wife and business partner, Melissa, also influenced his decision to open Uncle Maddio’s.

“My wife, who’s gluten-free, she says this is the best gluten-free pizza hands down. She was a big part of my decision.”

In addition to gluten-free crust, the restaurant offers a whole-wheat option for the health conscious. Founder and CEO Matt Andrew said the possibilities are vast.

“We have 48 topping choices, including 27 vegetables, 15 meats, and six sauces made on site,” he said.

Andrew started Uncle Maddio’s in Atlanta five years ago and now there are 25 locations open and 200 in development.

“Me and my team, we have a passion (for) serving high-quality food in a fast casual box,” he said. “We spotted an opportunity to provide consumers with better-for-you food, fast, fresh and affordable.”

Together, Andrew and Welborn plan to open two more restaurants in Cumming and Dawsonville. Until then, they will be working to fill the Gainesville location by giving out free pizza throughout their first week of being open. “(Today) is our soft open and Saturday, our grand opening, we’ll be giving away pizzas from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..”

To accommodate the expected crowds, Uncle Maddio’s is staffed with over 30 people.

Manager-in-training Rebecca Williams said her team is ready for the rush.

“I’ve worked in restaurants since I was 14 ... a lot of (the employees) are in culinary programs,” she said. “We get the pleasure of watching other people eat food we get to make from scratch.”

Customer Joanne McDonald, who frequents the Atlanta location with her husband, said she likes being able to see the staff prepare her food.

“I was excited to see one come to Gainesville,” she said. “I like getting what I want on my own pizza. That’s the difference — you just kind of go through and get to play with it. It’s all fresh, and that’s what appeals to me.”

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