OTTO to Make Four Appearances at the 2016 International Pizza Expo


OTTO co-owners Mike Keon and Anthony Allen, and OTTO Director of Marketing, Eric Shepherd

This March, three members of the OTTO team will be making a total of four appearances at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. (Yes, that’s really a thing.)

Over the past thirty years, thousands of restaurant owners, managers, manufacturers, distributors, food brokers, and service providers have been convening every March for this industry event — the largest pizza show in the world.

In addition to the International Pizza Challenge (bake-offs before judges in five divisions, with Pizza Maker of the Year finals) and the World Pizza Games (skills competition in five divisions), the four-day convention also features approximately 90 keynote addresses, seminars, workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations.

OTTO co-owners Anthony Allen and Mike Keon will be making two appearances.

On Tuesday, March 8, Mike and Anthony will be performing a live baking demo, ‘Pizza Outside the Box,’ where they will discuss OTTO’s penchant for non-traditional ingredient combinations. Attendees will get to watch step-by-step baking demonstrations of two of the pizzeria’s signature pies: The Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion pizza, and the Butternut Squash, Cranberry & Ricotta.

On Wednesday March 9, Mike and Anthony will present a seminar, ‘Creating a Unique Dining Experience in Nontraditional Settings,’ in which they will discuss OTTO’s unique dining environments — from a location in a former gas station to booths built out of scrapped pianos.

Eric Shepherd, OTTO’s Director of Marketing and Communications will be making two appearances at this year’s Pizza Expo.

On Monday, March 7, as part of the School of Pizzeria Management, Eric will be co-conducting a 4-hour workshop entitled ‘A Coordinated Marketing Plan for Pizzerias,’ in which he will share knowledge, tools and techniques to raise brand awareness, expand customer bases, and increase repeat business.

On Wednesday, March 9, Eric will lead a seminar entitled ‘Grow Your Customer Base With Cause Marketing’ in which he will discuss OTTO’s dedication to the communities in which it does business, through multiple weekly fundraisers in two states, and year-round support of local and regional charities, organizations, and schools.

This will be Mike and Anthony’s second year presenting at Pizza Expo, and Eric’s third time around.

If you happen to be in Vegas, come by and say hello. Other OTTO team members will also be on hand. We look forward to seeing you, and we hope to come back smarter, and inspired.

The 1st OTTO Oscars! Submit your OTTO-themed Movie Poster and Win $100 Worth of Pizza Delivered to your Door on Oscar Night

It’s that time of year again – Oscar season! In honor of the 88th Academy Awards, we inviteTheShining you to post your own versions of OTTO-themed movie posters on our Facebook timeline and WIN!

Submit your movie poster by Thursday, February 25th. On Friday, February 26th we will choose the three best entries and award the following prizes:

1st place: A pizza party of $100 worth of pizza delivered to your home on Oscar Night* OR a $100 gift card & an OTTO T-shirt
2nd place: $50 OTTO gift card & an OTTO T-shirt
3rd place: $25 OTTO gift card & an OTTO T-shirt

A couple of rules to follow:

  1. You must incorporate one or both of the following: A photo of OTTO pizza AND/ORSpottolight the word ‘OTTO’ (Otto’s or Otto’s Pizza will not be accepted)
  2. Please use an existing film poster for your entry (see the Facebook gallery for examples)

Entries may be posted on our Facebook timeline or emailed to Winners will be contacted via Facebook or email on 2/26.

OTTO reserves the right to remove and/or disqualify entries that are not suitable for all ages, or which are otherwise not aligned with OTTO’s good taste.

We will add the very best entries to our ‘OTTO Oscars’ Facebook gallery, and elsewhere.

Get to it and good luck!

*The address must be within delivery range of one our locations in Maine or Massachusetts to qualify for an Oscar Night delivery


OTTO Gift Cards: The Gift That Gives Back

The hardest thing about buying an OTTO gift card for someone is not keeping it for yourself.

Don’t worry. We have a special Buy One Get One offer to soften the blow.


From now through January 7, 2016, buy a $25 gift card, get a FREE $5 gift card of your very own! Buy a $50 gift card, get $10. Buy a $100, get $20. 

Buy one for everyone on your list, and you may not have to buy dinner in 2016!

Keep in mind that this offer is only available in-store.

Each gift card can be used at each of OTTO’s locations throughout Maine and Massachusetts, as well as at OCHO, our new burrito restaurant on Congress Street in Portland.

OTTO’s gift cards can also be used for online orders, phone-in orders, take-out, or delivery.  They can be stored in your OTTO mobile app, they can be reloaded, and you can check your gift card balance at any time!

Stop by any OTTO location and knock out your holiday shopping today!

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OTTO Honored By Yelp As One of 100 Top-Rated Businesses In North America

OTTO has been selected by Yelp as one of 100 “top-rated businesses” in America, and has been invited to a historic event taking place at Yelp’s San Francisco headquarters this November 4-5 called Coast-To-Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business.

12143320_10153662423869555_3043876664846898214_nOTTO was the sole Maine business selected by Yelp for this honor. Businesses were first nominated by Yelp’s North American community managers as “businesses that have a great reputation in their communities and on Yelp.” That list was then whittled down to 100 by Yelp HQ.

Yelp’s Business Outreach Manager, Corey Dane, describes the selected businesses as savvy in their approach to (and acceptance of) new customer feedback channels: “This choice group of business owners doesn’t get hung up by 1 and 2 star reviews; they use feedback to make necessary changes. Social is very much a part of their marketing strategy, and that includes taking an active role in managing their reputation on Yelp and in the community.”

Although the 100 businesses chosen for the honor range wildly in category, experience levels, and years in business, Dane says they have one thing that unites them: “their steadfast desire to build a robust business in their local market.”

OTTO is extremely proud to have been selected for this honor. As an independent restaurant group built and sustained on word-of-mouth exposure, OTTO has embraced Yelp as a valuable awareness tool, and as an important channel for engaging with its valued guests.

OTTO is looking forward to attending the events at Yelp HQ and hopes that the seminars and discussions will provide additional tools and knowledge to further harness the power of online feedback to continue to make OTTO the best it can be.

OTTO Alum Leads Uganda to Little League World Series

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Evan with Team Uganda

If you tune into ESPN at 1pm on Thursday, August 20, you will see Newburyport’s own Evan Petty, managing the Uganda Little League team in their opening game of the Little League World Series.

Evan, a Syracuse grad with a degree in Journalism and a love for baseball, worked in OTTO’s Newburyport location in its first few months of operations, before heading to Uganda to teach English. In his spare time, Evan assembled a juggernaut of a baseball team.

Read more about Evan in this profile. It’s an inspiring story on many levels, and we hope you’ll join us in cheering on Team Uganda.

Today, two OTTO drivers from our Newburyport location (Aidan and Ryan) headed to Williamsport PA with 15 large pizzas to feed the team. We hope that we can help to fuel a win, although our gesture pales in comparison to what Evan has contributed.

We at OTTO are incredibly proud of Evan, and we wish Team Uganda the very best of luck during the series.

Maine Locals Revive a Beloved Yarmouth Landmark With Village Market and Eatery

For over 150 years the corner of East Elm and Main Street has been the gateway and anchor of the Yarmouth Village. For the past 77 years it has been a Village Store that locals affectionately refer to as “Handy Andy’s.”

1002850_403085709800831_77980649_nHandy Andy’s is a place where generations mix easily. A destination that prefers walking and riding to driving. A place where ice cream, coffee, and good conversation flow easily.

In March, Sean Ireland and two local partners purchased the store. Their vision was to embrace and build on the best of Handy Andy’s and to expand the business model in a manner that allowed for significant investment in the infrastructure – which was badly needed. “The store was really ‘tired’ and needed a lot of love. As locals we appreciated what the store meant to the community and saw so much potential,” said Ireland.

Ireland’s vision was to create a unique multipurpose business model that honored the distinct character of the Village, while meeting the growing needs of a community that appreciates quality goods and services.

He wanted to partner with friends and family to bring the best of the greater Portland experience to the Yarmouth Village. He and his cousin, Amy Ireland, reached out to over 30 local businesses. Amy embraced the process. “We had so much to learn,” she said. “Over the course of five months Sean and I met with dozens of business owners. We were eager to learn about their businesses and to share our vision for the project. On the whole, everyone was really supportive and excited about what we wanted to do. Timing and compatibility with regard to approach and branding were huge factors in our conversations and what would make the ultimate partnership.”

Sean agreed. “We didn’t know where we would land but we were really passionate about the project and that resonated with folks. It wasn’t just about opening a successful business. It was about being true to the sense of place and the people and really enjoying and embracing the partnerships – and we think we’ve hit a home run.”

In June, Handy’s Store will reopen as a Village Market/Grocer, Café, and Gourmet Pizza. Amy Ireland will run the Village Market/Grocer, Guy and Stella Hernandez of Hill Top Café and Lolita will operate the Café, and Mike Keon and Anthony Allen, founders of OTTO, will be serving up salads and gourmet pizza.

“We really liked Amy and Sean’s vision for the project. We thought it was really important that we embrace the Handy Andy’s brand and that customers have a ‘seamless’ experience, so it was easy for us to fold the Café into the overall brand. We have two very distinct experiences in Portland and we wanted this project to stand on it’s own as well,” stated Stella Hernandez, co-owner along with her husband, of Hiltop Café, located on the East End in Portland. The Café will serve local ice cream, coffee, espresso, tea, sandwiches and soups, as well as fresh baked breads and other goodies.

Ireland thought long and hard about bringing more pizza to Yarmouth, but after hundreds of conversations with folks in the community and lots of positive feedback, he was confident there was room for gourmet pizza – which didn’t exist north of Portland. OTTO was a likely choice and after the first meeting both parties left feeling like this could be a great partnership.

“We weren’t necessarily looking to expand,” stated Anthony Allen, co-founder and owner of OTTO. “When Sean approached us, we were a bit hesitant, but really intrigued by the uniqueness and the partnership opportunity of the project. When we learned more about the history of Handy Andy’s and what it has meant to the Village and Yarmouth – we just fell in love with it. We’re really excited about becoming a part of the community.”

Phase two construction will include a Post and Beam Carriage House that will seat approximately 30-35 people and will include a ‘Community Board Room’ on the 2nd floor for use by individuals and organizations. Construction will begin in September and be completed in November.

A vision shared by all parties is that Handy Andy’s will continue on for the next 150 years. As a place that embraces the best of the past. A place where generations continue to mix easily. A destination that still prefers walking and riding to driving. And finally, a place that locals will likely still affectionately refer to as “Handy Andy’s.”

Three OTTO Team Members to be Featured at the 2015 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas

Every year, thousands of pizzeria owners, operators, managers, distributors and food topbrokers from all over the world convene at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas for five days of educational seminars, workshops, cooking demonstrations, competitions, exhibits, and activities. In other words, the Pizza Expo is kinda the South By Southwest of pizza.

This year, 3 members of the OTTO team will be making several appearances:

Allen-KeonOTTO Co-owners Mike Keon and Anthony Allen will be featured in the Pizzeria Concept Showcase, an annual presentation by “super-successful pizzeria owners, who will describe the evolution of their concepts and take your questions.” Mike and Anthony’s session will focus on multi-market operations.

Anthony will also be part of a panel discussion for new pizzeria operators entitled Common Pizzeria Start-Up Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Like any entrepreneurs, the panelists have made some mistakes, and they hope to save others the trouble.

EricShepherdEric Shepherd, OTTO’s Director of Marketing & Communications will be leading a seminar entitled Growing Your Customer Base With Cause Marketing, co-leading a workshop entitled Digital Marketing For Pizzerias, and will be part of a panel discussion entitled Building Business With Mobile And Online Orders. This will be Eric’s second year presenting at Expo.

If you happen to be in Vegas, come by and say hello. Several other OTTO team members will also be on hand. We look forward to seeing you, and we hope to come back smarter, and inspired.