Less than two weeks in, John Copley but in a good way.
Customers have been lining up to try the pizzas, calzones, Stromboli, and pastas that he and his family have been serving up at Hartsville’s latest dining establishment, Plain Jane’s Italian Cuisine.
Copley, his wife Michelle, son Caleb (who helped design the logo) and daughter Delainey (who is the restaurant’s mascot) are working together daily in the restaurant with the goal of pleasing customers. Alivia, the oldest daughter, is a college student and assists her family as time permits.
“It’s a family business,” said Copley. “I look at it like four tires on a car. There are four of us that make up the main staple. My oldest daughter, she’s is in college, so she has a hard time getting here. But if one of the other four goes down, it’s hard. It’s a group effort, and I’m so thankful for the family for hopping in and doing this.”
Copley, who is not new to the restaurant business, has previously opened restaurants with his best friend and who owns multiple Roma Pizza and Pasta locations in Nashville. However, instead of opening a Roma’s in Hartsville, the Copleys decided to do something different, and it has paid off as customers are already choosing their favorite menu items.
“We were going to open another Roma Pizza and Pasta,” said Copley. “Then, my wife said, ‘You know, I would kind of like something different out there in Hartsville.’
“I helped start all of the Roma Pizza and Pastas that are in Nashville with my best friend. I, basically, just helped him. He has now turned around and helped me and has come out a couple of times to cook. He said, ‘John, you sell more calzones and stromboli than we ever did. So, things like that are popular as far as the pizza goes, but the chicken fettuccini has also been a huge success.”
In deciding to open something different in Hartsville, Copley credits his wife for giving him the concept for the new restaurant and its slogan.
“My wife said to me, ‘For me, when I eat pizza, I’m just a plain Jane,’ ” said Copley. “ ‘I like straight cheese pizza. That’s my favorite.’ So, it just clicked in my head ... she’s plain but her food is not (which is the slogan).”
With a full Italian menu and homemade ingredients, the Copleys are already seeing returning customers.
“We have all handmade ingredients,” said Copley. “Our dough is our own recipe. We make it fresh from flour, not frozen balls. Some places just use frozen balls of dough, but we actually handcraft our own.”
Returning customer Payton Beaver added, “This is our second time. We had the cheese bread and the chicken bacon ranch (pizza). I had the garlic parmesan wings the first time. But it is all very good.”
According to Copley, with summer just around the corner, he hopes to feature live music at the restaurant.
“We would like to, in the summertime, possibly have live music on the weekends or on different days of the week,” said Copley, who is in search of experienced pizza-makers to employ. “Alivia, my daughter, is a singer. She usually plays at different places downtown. She said, ‘I can’t be there every day to work, so I’ll come out and sing.’ ”
Plain Jane’s, which is located at 116 West McMurry Blvd. in Hartsville, is open on weekdays from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. and on weekends from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., though it is closed on Sunday.
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