Citta del Cotone rendering

Citta del Cotone rendering courtesy Cason Development Group

Citta del Cotone, the pizza place that opened in Cottontown in November 2018 and quickly became the center of controversy after co-owner Rick Marzan posted questionable social media content, is closing after less than a year in business. The restaurant's last day is Saturday, June 15, and the announcement was made via social media on June 11.

The restaurant specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas, made with tomatoes, mozzarella and a special kind of flour. Citta del Cotone also offers several variations on the Neopolitan pizza, including a Pizza Noah that includes blueberries and bacon.

Soon after Citta opened in Cottontown, people began sharing screenshots from Marzan's personal Facebook page. The screencaps showed Marzan sharing conservative memes. One reads, “LGBT? You mean liquor, guns, bacon and tits?” Another shows a man with his pants pulled up to his armpits, with the caption, “When I found out sagging started in the penitentiary to let other inmates know that you are gay.” The backlash was loud and quick.

Co-owner Tommy Price tells Free Times the restaurant got off to a shaky start with the social media blip and they were never able to shake it.

“In business, like in life, you encounter all sorts of issues and we couldn’t rebound like we wanted to,” says Price.

Marzan was bought out of his restaurant shares in April, but remained an investor up until that point following his public removal from the restaurant shortly after the controversy erupted in December.

Asked if he plans to try another business venture anytime soon, Price tells Free Times he's going to do what is in the best interests of his staff and the community.

“I will not try to do Citta del Cotone again, but right now we are just trying to focus on closing this business,” Price responds. “The food experience was overshadowed, but I truly believe in this vibrant community. It’s been challenging, but it’s been fun.”

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