Lulu’s Pizza is about three miles west of Betsy Ross Pizza, Pat’s Pizzeria and Pizza Delight off the Del. Route 8, the major east-west corridor for greater Dover. But Lulu’s seems like it’s got a vast area all to itself.
Lulu’s Pizza is about three miles west of Betsy Ross Pizza, Pat’s Pizzeria and Pizza Delight off the Del. Route 8, the major east-west corridor for greater Dover.
But Lulu’s seems like it’s got a vast area all to itself as it stands in an area of farms – where Amish horses and buggies are a common sight.
As such, new owner LaVerne “Vern” Rozelle and his wife, Beth, figure they pretty much have most of the Hartly and west Dover market to themselves.
Vern and Beth Rozelle reopened the pizza shop named after their first grandchild on Oct. 23.
“There’s nobody from here back to the Marydel line – the Maryland line,” Vern Rozelle said. “You want to be quite a ways away from your competitors.
“We’re getting a lot of Amish people calling,” he added. “We’re in their trust, I guess you would say.”
But they won’t venture too much into the heart of Dover, namely the U.S. Route 13 corridor, Vern Rozelle said.
“There’s too much competition down there,” he said.
Simply put, Vern Rozelle believes good food will bring people into his pizza shop and will keep them coming back. He is keeping it simple and is focusing on pizza, subs and steak sandwiches and chicken wings.
“You have to have something different,” he said. “It can’t be pizza all the time.”
Lulu’s Pizza also features “three weird pizzas” – hot wing pizza, Polish pizza and barbecued chicken pizza, Beth Rozelle said. People love them, she said.
The pizza joint business may seem odd for a lifelong farmer like Vern Rozelle, who now owns the farm that his grandfather and father owned before him in Fleetwood, Pa. Plus, he is a 38-year, retired veteran of Sandvik Steel Mill in Pennsylvania.
In addition, he has raised standard bred horses until they were old enough to come down to train for racing at Camden-based Heaven on Earth horse farm.
But Rozelle has always had a passion for cooking and has experimented with new things in the kitchen, he said. In that sense, the pizza shop was not a stretch.
Heaven on Earth had hired Rozelle to work and live on its Camden horse farm when Rozelle retired from Sandvik Steel.
When Heaven on Earth owner Chuck Crissman told Rozelle about a pizza shop that had closed, the idea of taking it over seemed to make sense to him and his wife. Crissman and Sean Bier, a trainer at Heaven on Earth, had frequented the shop at 4317 Forrest Ave. (Del. Route 8) often.
“They kept telling us there’s nobody back here,” Vern Rozelle said.
And while this is Rozelle’s first venture into the restaurant business, this is nothing new for his wife. Beth Rozelle’s parents owned restaurants, and she worked in them for much of her life.
Vern is the pizza maker and Beth answers the phone and takes orders. In addition, they have hired three drivers for deliveries.
Building on his passion for cooking, Vern Rozelle learned some pointers from the previous owner of the pizza shop, which had closed for about three months before Lulu’s opened in October. In addition, his Faith Life Ministries pastor, Ken Martin, and his wife had owned a pizza shop in the past. They gave the Rozelles their recipes, including tips on dough making, and encouraged them to go into business for themselves.
In addition to support from Heaven on Earth and their church, Lulu’s Pizza has a patient landlord, the Rozelles said.
“With those three supports, we’re going to keep pushing forward,” Vern Rozelle said. “We’re hoping the business will support itself. Then, it can support us.”