During their college careers at Louisiana State University, Blaire and Taylor Bobo frequented Rotolo’s Pizzeria often.

“We have memories eating their (Rotolo’s) pizza and calzones,” she said. “It was one of the few places in town that stayed open late, and they had a great deal on calzones — they were $3.99, and college students could eat it for two different meals.”

The Bobos later moved to Shreveport, and when a Rotolo’s popped up in the area, they realized one of their favorite pizza joints had become a franchise.

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Construction continues at Rotolo’s Craft and Crust, a new pizza restaurant in East Memphis. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)
Construction continues at Rotolo’s Craft and Crust, a new pizza restaurant in East Memphis. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)
The couple soon opened Rotolo’s locations in Longview, Texas; Ruston, Louisiana, near Louisiana Tech University’s campus; and in Alexandria, Louisiana. Soon, they will be expanding into Memphis with a Rotolo’s Craft and Crust location in East Memphis.

“We relocated to East Memphis during COVID for Taylor’s work,” Blaire Bobo said. “Not long after, we realized that East Memphis was lacking a restaurant with the vibe that Rotolo’s gives. It’s a family-friendly environment but also kind of a sports bar environment.”

There are currently 29 Rotolo’s locations, and Memphis will be No. 30. All of the Craft & Crust locations, except for one, are franchises.

“We’re really excited to be bringing the franchise to Memphis,” Blaire Bobo said. “It really is a great product. It’s a place that has good food and a good vibe.”

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Rotolo’s also became a favorite of local chef Ryan Trimm, who frequents the restaurant anytime the Ole Miss alum travels to see Ole Miss play LSU.

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“It’s (Rotolo’s) different than any pizza shop we have in town,” Trimm said. “I love Memphis Pizza Cafe and Garibaldi’s, but it adds another element.”

Trimm raved about Rotolo’s pizza sauce, which he said has a bit of a sweet taste to it. He also enjoys the cauliflower and brussel sprouts as side dishes.

“I like the crust,” he said. “I’m big on crust. Without it being thin crust, I like it being a little crunchy. They have that going on.”

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Workers construct the new AstroTurf patio at Rotolo’s Craft and Crust at 681 S. White Station Road in East Memphis. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)
Workers construct the new AstroTurf patio at Rotolo’s Craft and Crust at 681 S. White Station Road in East Memphis. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)
Trimm said that while there are several pizza restaurants in the East Memphis area, it’s a busy part of town, and “there’s plenty of room for everyone to get along.”

“It’s not like I’m going to stop eating Garibaldi’s or anything else,” he said. “They all serve different kinds of pizza. I think it will be good for the area.”

The original brand was called Rotolo’s Pizzeria. Since then, the franchise has evolved, and as it diversified, the pizzerias weren’t able to offer the same menu items because of the limited space in their kitchens. Now, there are Rotolo’s Pizzeria and Rotolo’s Craft and Crust locations.

“They both have the same authentic sauce recipes,” Blaire Bobo said. “Craft and Crust just has a more diverse menu and is a newer brand.”

Rotolo’s Craft and Crust in East Memphis will have 32 beers on tap and an AstroTurf courtyard and patio area to add to the family-friendly vibe of the restaurant.

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“The menu offers something for everyone without being overwhelming,” Blaire Bobo said. “Memphis has a lot of great restaurants, but in our neck of the woods, we didn’t find a lot of great family-friendly spots that we could hit up.”

Rotolo’s began in 1996 in Baton Rouge. Using his Italian family’s recipes, Mitch Rotolo started slinging pizzas, and the brand took off from there.

“It’s (Rotolo’s) authentic recipes that come from Mitch Rotolo’s family,” Blaire Bobo said. “There is a whole plant that makes their sauces, and the dough is made fresh daily. We offer a couple different types of pizza — hand-tossed crust, which is New York-style; Chicago deep dish and Chicago cracker thin crust.”

East Memphis’ Rotolo’s Craft and Crust is located at 681 S. White Station Road.
Rotolo’s Craft and Crust is slated to open Monday, May 23, at 681 S. White Station Road, Suite 110. The Bobos hope to have a full staff of 80 employees and will offer delivery through Grubhub as well as take-out and dine-in options.

“We liked the White Station location because we loved the idea of being in the center of East Memphis and close to Poplar but not on Poplar,” Blaire Bobo said. “It’s in the heart of everything but has that neighborhood restaurant feel.”