Big pizza brings big laughs

During the day, Benny Marzano’s Pizza Place off Main Street in Blacksburg is a  quaint, little restaurant to eat and relax.

Now, it’s a lunchtime hangout for friends, who chat quietly while chowing down on 28-inch slices of hand-made pizza.

Benny’s Pizza Place, once a photo and art gallery, is an inviting scene with employees joking around with customers while they wait for their orders. Its bars and bar stools line the walls, surrounding a single circular table. Along the back walls are many pictures of other pizza places around the United States that seem to give the place a home-like feeling. With the sun in the sky this little restaurant has a distinct ambiance to many.

But things change when night falls.

Benny turns into a deserted waypoint on a late-night traveler’s trip to wherever they may be headed. With a bar being right next door and a college campus surrounding it, Benny’s is a focal point for late-night events.

The atmosphere at night changes dramatically. The music is turned up extra loud playing whatever the employees want. The lights produce an ominous glow that just barely catches your eye but still could be easily missed. The pictures that would normally be attractive to the eye during the day completely fade out of sight during the night.

Most customers usually do not try to start a conversation, instead they wait quietly or talk with the company they come with. Others are in no shape to even be out of the house.

Chris Brown, a Benny’s employee, said he’s had his fill of run-ins and irate customers. He’s worked there for under a year and has called the police many times.

“One time I had a girl come here and put her bare ass against the window while a crowd was out front,” Brown said.

Despite the sometimes rowdy customers, Benny’s employees also know how to have a good time. The employees will gather up the leftover dough and make them into little balls. While unexpecting customers eat and talk, employees throw the dough at the customers, sparking a food fight.

Some of the guests that come around are humorous, dull, or even mad, but others that come in have their own category: gross.

“Drunk girls tend to drop their pizza on the floor and instead of cleaning it up, they get down and eat straight off the floor,” said Brown.

No matter how crazy the customers may get, eventually at 3 am the ovens turn off and everyone heads back home.
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