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Central Ohio natives find huge success after opening Columbus-style pizzeria–in Wisconsin

Central Ohio natives find huge success after opening Columbus-style pizzeria–in Wisconsin

Jack McLaughlin

Columbus-style pizza has found a new home up north.

While it’s common to see the thin and crispy pies all over central Ohio, the Arch City’s eponymous pizza has also made a name for itself in Wisconsin.

Canal Winchester native Matt Allen alongside his wife Karen Allen, who is from Reynoldsburg, moved to Wisconsin in 1999, but two decades later, the pair still couldn’t find real Columbus-style pies like Kingy’s and Vick’s Gourmet that they grew up eating,

So they made their own.


“My wife helped a friend of ours open Coaches in Gahanna back in the mid 90’s. The owners name was Rick Stover. We stayed in contact with him over the years. Over the years we joked with with Rick that we needed to open a pizza place here,” Matt Allen said. “Rick always offered his dough recipe to us, so in the middle of 2017 we started to make pizzas at home in preparation to open our new place.”

Later in 2017, the Allen’s officially opened Spanky’s Sports Bar & Grill in Waterford, Wisconsin, serving up the thin, square-cut pizza the pair grew up with.

The pizzeria is located just over 30 minutes southwest of Milwaukee.

According to Allen, many in the area are familiar with the tavern-style pizza of Chicago, but their pies opt for sauce that’s more commonly used in Columbus-style pies, and the “cup and char” pepperonis that are an earmark of Columbus-style pizza.

And the pizzas have been a hit. They’ve been so popular that Spanky’s has a second location in the works that’s set to open in 2024.

“Our style of pizza has been embraced by locals and people from all over south eastern Wisconsin. We have people drive 30-40 minutes to eat at our place every week. We are very blessed to have a strong following,” Allen said.

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