Cicis Pizza closes in Hixson, the latest of 8 eateries in the area to shut down

Other restaurants have opened nearby along Highway 153 and Hixson Pike

Photo by Dave Flessner / The Cicis Pizza restaurant in Hixson closed this week after operating for the past 26 years in the Northtowne Square shopping Center. Owner Barbie Potts sold the local franchise last fall but kept the Hixson eatery after her husband died. Photo was taken Jan. 25, 2023.
Photo by Dave Flessner / The Cicis Pizza restaurant in Hixson closed this week after operating for the past 26 years in the Northtowne Square shopping Center. Owner Barbie Potts sold the local franchise last fall but kept the Hixson eatery after her husband died. Photo was taken Jan. 25, 2023.

For the second time in as many months, a Hixson restaurant that has operated since the 1990s has permanently shut down.

The Cicis Pizza on Highway 153 in Hixson closed this week after operating for 26 years in the Northtowne Square shopping center. Barbie Potts, who sold the other local Cicis Pizza last October following the death of her husband Steve, said in a note posted on the Hixson restaurant's door that she is closing her last remaining Cicis restaurant with a heavy heart.

"It has been a pleasure serving you!" she said in the note.

The shutdown of the Hixson Cicis Pizza restaurant follows the December closing of the Hixson Steak N Shake at 5118 Hixson Pike, which also had been open continuously for 26 years before its permanent closing. The local franchise for Steak 'n Shake is focusing on its remaining local unit on Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd.

  photo  Photo by Dave Flessner / The Steak N Shake on Hixson Pike closed in December after 26 years. The restaurant site, photographed Wednesday, remains vacant,
 
 

RESTAURANT REALIGNMENT

Over the past couple of years, a half dozen other restaurant chains also have closed eateries in the Hixson area, including Bojangles, O'Charley's, Ryan's Steakhouse, the New York Pizza Department, California Tortilla and the Crazy Buffet.

New York Pizza closed its Hixson restaurant just a year after opening another location in Lakesite. In a Facebook post at the time of the closing last year, NYPD Pizza franchise owner Erik Cilen called his decision bittersweet.

"It is with great sadness that after nearly 12 years of being in business, I have decided to lock the doors of New York Pizza Department - Hixson," Cilen said in his Facebook post. "Due to unforeseen circumstances out of my control, I can no longer keep this location operating to its full potential."

But other restaurants have opened nearby along Highway 153 and Hixson Pike in the same time period, including McAlister's, Miller's Ale House, Buddy's Bar-B-Q, One Hundred Hibachi & Sushi, Starbucks and Crumbl Cookies.

In the same Northtowne Square shopping center where the Cicis Pizza restaurant is closing, workers are building a 7 Brew drive-through coffee shop, which is expected to open in the next month or two. The Rogers, Arkansas-based coffee chain operates 49 stands in the Southeast.


CICIS FRANCHISE SALE

In a recent announcement of the sale of the other local Cicis restaurant in East Brainerd, Potts said the buyers of the Cicis franchise on Gunbarrel Road, Meg and Aaron Wasik, are "as qualified and as passionate about the business as we were."

"When we met Meg, Aaron and their family, we felt confident that they would lead Cicis through its next 20 years and beyond," Potts said.

The Wasiks, who did not acquire the Hixson Cicis Pizza location, have been business owners since 2014, when they opened their first franchise with a cabinet refurbishing company in Orlando. Since then, they have built an investment portfolio that includes a laundromat, rental property and an ambulance company.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.

  photo  Photo by Dave Flessner / A note posted on the door of the shuttered Cicis Pizza in Hixson Wednesday thanks patrons for 26 years of support.