Talented chef is spreading his wings

Brian Hainley saw something was missing. He decided to address it.

The owner of Mason’s Restaurant & Grocery, located in Aberdeen, Hainley is in the process of opening a pizza establishment, Pizzeria Grazia, which is housed in the same building as Mason’s. The Nashville native is excited about the venture.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to it,” Hainley said. “We anticipate opening in November.”

An absence of pizza options caused Hainley, who graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, to get things rolling.

“It’s something we think is needed in the area,” he said. “It’ll be a unique thing for the whole area. There’s a lot of excitement about it.”

Among the enthused are the owners of the property where Mason’s and Pizzeria Grazia do – and will – operate.

“The building owners have done a complete renovation,” Hainley said. “They’re helping me. It’s really been a collaborative effort.”

The success enjoyed by Mason’s – as limitations caused by the COVID-19 crisis are eased – certainly wouldn’t dampen a landlord’s enthusiasm. 

“Mason’s has been doing amazing,” Hainley said. “We’re doing better than we did before the shutdown. Weekends have been extremely busy.”

Pizzeria Grazia, named for Hainley and his wife Alison’s daughter, Grace, also figures to see more traffic on weekends, but hours of operation will give Hainley needed flexibility.

“It will mostly be open in the evening,” he said. “Mason’s is breakfast, lunch and brunch.”

Mason’s is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. On weekends, it closes at 3 p.m.

While Mason’s and Pizzeria Grazia have the same owner, don’t anticipate a mirroring to take place. Later hours and different patrons call for a different experience – and not just in terms of cuisine.

“It’s more of a casual environment,” Hainley said. “The pizzas cook in about 90 seconds (over an open grill). We’ll make a show of it. It’s an open kitchen.” 

Along with the obvious, the menu at Pizzeria Grazia will include fresh salads.

“It’s not just pizza,” Hainley said.

And, for Hainley, who started in the kitchen at a young age, it’s not just a job.

“There’s something about hospitality,” he said. “I really enjoy taking care of people.”

You’ll find Pizzeria Grazia on N. Sycamore Street this fall.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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