As far as Chip Myles is concerned, the greatest and most baffling compliment a restaurant owner can receive is when someone names a child after your eatery.
“I know of three or four children who have been named ‘Myles’ after us,” he said.
“We also heard of a couple dogs named ‘Myles’ too,” said his daughter, Meredith Myles.
That kind of reception from customers — becoming part of their families in a very real way — was not at all what Chip Myles expected when he opened Myles Pizza Pub five decades ago.
Since then, he has spent nearly every day perfecting his craft, laboring in the parmesan-infused aroma of his kitchen. Like a Japanese sushi master or a French pastry chef, he practices an art to the point of reverence. His canvas just so happens to be pizza dough, which he paints with sauce and toppings, often working while the rest of the world sleeps.
“I got to the point where I didn’t go to bed some nights,” he said.
What started in 1977 as a small operation on Wooster Street in Bowling Green, Ohio, has since grown into a revered institution.
It is all the more remarkable considering Myles Pizza Pub has never franchised or expanded. You won’t find Myles locations across the country. In fact, for a few years, there was no Myles at all, after the original location closed its doors in 2016 in what was deemed the end an era for Bowling Green college students and alumni.
“He decided he wanted to slow down a bit,” Meredith Myles said of her father. “They had done so well with their business, creating this iconic spot, but they were so busy, and it had gotten to be such a large operation that it was time to figure out what came next.”
What came next was a move to Greenville and a fresh start.
The second Myles spot, at 555 S. Pleasantburg Drive, opened its doors in 2019, serving as a semi-retirement for Chip Myles and a chance to pass the torch to his daughter and the younger generation.
What was once a late-night pizza spot for college students evolved into a more family-friendly daytime establishment. The fresh ingredients, scratch-made sauce and Ohio-style pizza remain the same as ever.
“From the start, my idea was that I was making food for adults,” Chip Myles said. “This pizza had real depth of flavor. It was spiced. Our sauce is our own recipe — it takes days to make — and so is our cheese blend. Everything had a purpose in my mind.”
The Greenville location has also become a sort of pilgrimage destination for Ohio natives and Bowling Green graduates who have been known to travel to get a taste of the pizza. The restaurant sells T-shirts that read “I drove miles for Myles.”
Talking with Chip Myles, who wears his signature apron as he tends to the ovens inside the pizza parlor, it becomes readily apparent why he never considered expanding his restaurant into a national brand.
“I wanted food that was really good and I wouldn’t sacrifice that,” he said. “I said from the start, and I mean it now: I will lock my doors before I sacrifice the quality of what I’m doing, because it has always been that important to me. That was the original goal and it’s the same goal today.”
What is Ohio-style pizza?
Myles is known for its Ohio-style pizza, which features crust that is crispy on the bottom, slightly doughy in the center, lathered with spicy-sweet sauce, piled high with fresh ingredients and blanketed with lots of cheese. If New York pizza is thin and Chicago pizza is deep dish, then Ohio-style is somewhere between.