BY ZOE ZUIDEMA
“It’s been my dream to own my own restaurant for a long time.”
Darren Marasco owns Bordy’s Pizza, an offshoot of Bordenaro’s, located in the Drake Neighborhood on Forest Avenue.
“I enjoy the work, enjoy working with people and enjoy creating food,” Marasco said after a long day of tossing dough, mixing “secret sauce” and greeting customers with a friendly smile.
The restaurant has been in business since last summer, and Marasco and his business partner figured that the Drake area would be the perfect place to open.
“We’d been looking for a second location,” Marasco said. “We talked about it and passed the idea around for a while, and this spot became available, and we said, ‘what the heck, let’s go for it.’”
Bordy’s business has been going well, but as the Drake Relays approach, students aren’t the only locals preparing for an increase in events and traffic.
“We’re expecting big crowds,” Marasco said. “I’ve been out here during the Relays and witnessed the sheer number of people, so we’re looking forward to that and getting our name out to a larger audience.”
Drake sophomore Joe Herba commented on how an increase in foot traffic during Relays may affect local businesses.
“I’m sure it helps that there are a lot more people near campus rather than just the Drake student body,” Herba said. “There’s a higher opportunity for business. Also, students like to save a budget up for Relays week, so they’re more likely to spend money nearby. Plus, campus is bustling during Relays, so a rise in traffic will give Bordy’s an opportunity to increase advertising and business.”
Peggy’s Tavern, located next to Bordy’s, is known for its tradition of hosting nightlife during Relays. Students have witnessed an increase in customers when the Peggy’s Relays tent is set up directly outside the two businesses. Sophomore Annelise Escher agrees that Peggy’s, in addition to Relays, will bring more customers to the budding pizza business.
“Bordy’s proximity to both Relays and the beloved Peggy’s tent will certainly bring it some extra business,” Escher said. “I think a lot of people, especially alumni, come specifically for the tent. It’s right next door, and there’s no way to miss Bordy’s when you’re there.”
Tom Baldwin, owner of Peggy’s, said that the bar is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and is planning on continuing its Relays tradition. Baldwin stated that over 800 people come to the Peggy’s tent throughout the week of Relays. Baldwin also guessed that this is more than double the amount of customers that frequent the business block in a regular week.
“We just hope to keep up the long, long tradition and welcome back Drake alums for the Relays in spring,” Baldwin said.
Marasco agreed that Peggy’s will help bring in more customers, and said that he’s planning on adjusting his restaurant’s hours to accommodate Relays visitors.
“We’ll probably be open earlier and later,” Marasco said. “I’ll stay open all day rather than just for meal hours.”
Rather than increase staffing, Marasco plans to work longer hours and be in the building for most of the day. He doesn’t mind, though.
“I just love working with people, and this will give me more time to do it,” Marasco said.
Escher commended Marasco’s idea to stay open longer.
“It’s a really smart move on Bordy’s part, and I think that they’re very aware that they benefit from proximity to Relays,” Escher said. “I hope they can handle the influx of people, since this is their first year.”
Herba said that Marasco should know what to expect.
“Even if they’ve never experienced it first hand, Bordy’s knows that a lot of people will be out and about,” Herba said. “It would be very telling of their business if they’re not able to keep it up during such a busy time.”
Marasco doesn’t feel this will be too daunting and is looking forward to serving pizza to hungry crowds.
“It’s not just about business,” Marasco said. “I love the atmosphere, the competitive nature of the sporting events, young kids getting out and all the fans and high school kids getting involved. It’s a nice event that showcases a lot of talent here in central Iowa.”
Morasco smiled and gestured towards the pizza he had just placed in the oven. “Besides, Relays can’t resist a good slice.”