ANDERSON — Mike Cravens sold his pizza restaurant on Columbus Avenue in 2008, but six years later he bought it back.
“We wanted to have a place where kids could go to play games, get pizza or even make their own pizza,” Cravens said.
In January, Cravens bought Columbus Avenue Pizza, 5436 Columbus Ave., and has since added more than 13 gaming systems, a candy crane and Skee-Ball for the children. He said children will be able to make their own pizzas from a specialty cart and he will have bounce houses available in the spring.
Cravens said the inspiration behind the new pizzeria were his own children.
“I have a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old and, when they are with me, I have to go to Muncie, Greenfield or Noblesville because there is nothing like this here,” he said.
In addition to private birthday parties, Cravens said children can enjoy the prize and video game machines in a safe and welcoming environment.
And, he said, the prize machines have been rigged.
“You win every time you play — unless you are playing a regular arcade game,” Cravens said.
Bigger prizes like gaming systems and computers will be offered in the future, he said.
Columbus Avenue Pizza features a variety of menu items including pizza, hot subs, salads, appetizers and desserts.
“We just wanted to offer people somewhere kids can go, but they don’t have to drive to get there,” Cravens said.
Future plans for the restaurant include physically expanding the business that now can seat 50 people. The expansion will allow for the games and entertainment for children, Cravens said.
Chrissy White, who is a co-owner of Columbus Avenue Pizza, said they want to offer special activities for kids throughout the week like bingo and face painting.
“We just want to make it mainly for the kids so they can have fun,” she said.
To celebrate its grand opening today, Cravens has arranged for professional IWF wrestlers to sign autographs from 1 to 5 p.m. and Raggedy Ann to do face painting along with a magic performer from 3 to 5 p.m.
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At a glance Name of business: Columbus Avenue Pizza Location: 5436 Columbus, Ave., Anderson Phone: 641-9933 or 641-9935 Opened: Jan. 1 Owners: Mike Cravens and Chrissy White Products and services: Family-friendly atmosphere with gaming systems and video games and a menu that features specialty pizzas such as chili dog and mac daddy pizzas, appetizers, hot subs, salads and desserts. The restaurant even has gluten-free pizzas for those with allergies. Hours of operation: Mon. - Thurs. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sun. noon to 9 p.m. Employs: 5 Watch it What makes this new business owner so passionate? To see the answer, go to www.heraldbulletin.com/videos.