Fletcher’s Pizza is a mainstay in Donelson going on 40 years now.
To say it’s a three-generation legacy is an understatement. Ask anyone around Donelson, and they’ve been to this pizza-and-more place.
The go-to restaurant started out in Donelson, when Donelson was a small, quaint, understated city. Harry Fletcher founded the restaurant in 1979 at the corner of Lebanon Road and McGavock Pike.
Son, Gary, currently owns the place at a different location at 2715 Old Lebanon Road. He said the restaurant would never relocate out of their favorite city.
“I started working at my dad’s place when I was 10 years old,” Gary Fletcher said.
He washed dishes, mopped and whatever else was needed. Basically, he was born into the business. Now, his son, Dalton Fletcher, 27, is also in the Italian restaurant as manager. Gary Fletcher said he’d pick his son up at school and take him to the restaurant day after day.
It’s not about the huge menu with the pizza at center stage, but Gary Fletcher said it’s about community and devotion to a city that has embraced their restaurant for 40 years. Fans of the place have never wavered, and they come from out of state to enjoy the food, family and memories and to soak up nostalgia. Millennials dig the place, as well.
“I started young with hopes to take over someday,” Gary Fletcher said.
And, he did. He’s the main boss of the restaurant that moved from its original location in 1999. The family sold the property to CVS that sits on that corner. Gary Fletcher said it simply outgrew the location, and when the offer came to sell the property, they eagerly accepted and looked for a nearby relocation site.
“Then we moved to the old Hardee’s building,” said Gary Fletcher. “Dad loves Donelson.”
He said the building had been empty for some time. They put about $200,000 into the renovation to make it what it is today. They officially reopened March 2000 and lost not one customer. The fan base followed the pizzeria with no complaints.
“Our patrons are loyal,” Gary Fletcher said.
The menu has augmented in the 40 years, with Gary Fletcher the main artist behind it. Back in the day, it was just pizza, but 2019 finds a slew of items from which to choose, like brand-new pizza bowls.
“They are basically a pizza, without the crust,” Gary Fletcher said.
It’s all about people looking for a pizza without the carbs, and they are a hit with Keto gurus.
“Every year, I try to add a new menu item,” Gary Fletcher said.
Of course, there are menu items people come from far and wide to enjoy.
The pizzas are fresh made to order. There are different categories that tempt diners such as gourmet, specialty and custom. Low-carb, all the way to ‘let me have my pizza smothered’ are offered. They don’t blink an eye at any combo the diners request.
Twenty toppings or more and more than 100 different varieties of pizza are offered.
“It’s crazy, we have diced chicken, spinach, you name it,” said Gary Fletcher.
And, what makes these pizzas pop is the fact that they are baked to order on slate.
“We train our people for weeks on how to do this,” Gary Fletcher said.
But there are also what seems to be a billion varieties of sub sandwiches, complete dinners, calzones and even burgers and hot dogs.
“Our subs are cooked to order; we spend hours chopping up ingredients in preparation for whatever anyone wants at any given time,” Gary Fletcher said.
He said he’s particular about the menu and tests his choices over and over again. He also is alert to customers’ suggestions. And, he then adapts.
“We know what people ask for,” he said. “The biggest compliment we get is that we are consistent.”
Because they are family owned, Gary Fletcher and his son work about 50 hours a week.
Fletcher’s also offers the most amazing tenders, wings, salads and desserts.
It has booths and tables and can seat up to 180 people with a patio for outside dining.
Gary Fletcher said people love their restaurant and come back 15 years later, because it’s about family and love of the Donelson community.
“We are different than your average pizza place,” he said. “We are family owned for 40 years, and we love our customers. I feel we are all family.”