Mafiaoza's in Franklin prepares to welcome diners back

General Manager Zach Kunde, left, and Executive General Manager John Long have been working over the past year to ensure diner safety while providing a family-friendly atmosphere. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
General Manager Zach Kunde, left, and Executive General Manager John Long have been working over the past year to ensure diner safety while providing a family-friendly atmosphere. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

General Manager Zach Kunde, left, and Executive General Manager John Long have been working over the past year to ensure diner safety while providing a family-friendly atmosphere. (Photos by Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Ravioli sticks: Giant raviolis are stuffed with a blend of cheese and fried until golden brown. ($12.75)
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The Godfather: This specialty pizza includes housemade dough, Brooklyn pepperoni, housemade mozzarella cheese and pecorina fausa, an aged parmesan cheese. ($25-$32)
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The Tony ($12): Mafiaoza’s signature cheesy bread features feta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese with a blend of mixed herbs.
Located near The Factory at Franklin, Mafiaoza’s has long been centered around family—a concept that has more than one meaning for the spot, given its Capone-themed decor.

Mafiaoza’s was opened in Franklin in 2016 by founders Michael Dolan and Lars Kopperland, who opened the eatery’s first location in 12 South in 2003. Both were big on family time and were fans of New York-style pizza, and so the name “Mafiaoza’s”—with “mafia” for “family” and “za” for “pizza”—was coined.

While the eatery focuses on New York pizza, which has large, thin slices, General Manager Zach Kunde, who joined Mafiaoza’s staff in December, said the location’s staff features multiple Chicago transplants who now call the Nashville area home.

“So now, it’s just a bunch of Chicago boys running this place, which is also funny with the mob theme because Chicago is well known for its mob connections,” Kunde said.

Mafiaoza’s menu features a selection of specialty pizzas, each using house-made dough made from a secret recipe developed by the owners.


“It’s a secret, homegrown dough recipe—it’s not something you can just go to the store and get,” Executive General Manager John Long said. “If you’re an Italian restaurant, your dough better be special. Nineteen years later, I think the dough speaks for itself.”

Popular items include The Godfather—a pizza made with Brooklyn pepperoni, house-made “Moff” mozzarella and aged Parmesan cheese—and ravioli sticks, which are large raviolis stuffed with a blend of cheese and fried.

"[They] have the most ‘wow’ factor when you bring them to the table,” Long said.

The menu also includes pastas, salads and shareable appetizers.

Mafiaoza’s bar features Tennessee craft beers and cocktails with local spirits, such as the Blood Orange Mule, which is made with Pickers Vodka. Diners can choose to eat on the family-friendly ground level, in the upstairs area or on any of the restaurant’s patio areas.

The eatery has taken a number of steps to ensure COVID-19 precautions are in place, such as adding QR codes to menus and ensuring social distancing. Kunde said Mafiaoza’s has been working to make sure it is ready to welcome back regulars and newcomers whenever they feel comfortable again.

“I love people, and I think this is the greatest business for that because I get to meet so many,” Kunde said. “Whether they had a good day or a bad day, kind of a boring day, whatever, ... most people are very happy after you feed them pasta and pizza.”

Mafiaoza’s

230 Franklin Road, Bldg. 1, Franklin

615-465-1505

www.mafiaozas.com/franklin

Hours: Tue.-Fri. 4-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. noon-10 p.m., closed Mon.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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