The owner of Lago Pizza in Moneta plans to bring the restaurant to Roanoke later this year.
Sam Shamaa said renovations are in progress for a second Lago Pizza location off Orange Avenue, which he hopes to open in December.
“Business is good,” Shamaa said. “But my location here mainly is just summertime, because all of the tourists at the lake. In Roanoke, I think it will be a better opportunity to be steady all year round.”
The Italian restaurant offers pizza in the New York and Chicago styles, along with pasta, subs and calzones. He said the Roanoke location will be 3,400 square feet and include a bar. There will also be a pickup window so customers can grab their orders without entering — an idea Shamaa got from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lago Pizza has been in business in Moneta for more than 30 years, Shamaa said, but he took ownership just two years ago. Shamaa said he chose Orange Avenue for his new location because he was the manager of a Denny’s across the street for several years and knows the area well.
Shamaa said he was drawn to the restaurant’s Italian fare because he worked at a pizzeria in New Jersey when he was younger.
Though dine-in business has fallen by 75% at the Moneta Lago Pizza during the pandemic, Shamaa said, the delivery and carryout business soared.
“It balanced itself out. Matter of fact, I’m up this year from last year about 25% in total,” Shamaa said, which encouraged him to go ahead with the Roanoke location.
He’s also expanding the Moneta location into an adjoining space, adding more seating and a large bar.
Lago Pizza’s Roanoke location will be at 3412 Orange Ave. Northeast in the Market Square East Shopping Center.