Some of the most successful and populated businesses in the area are run by women. Two of which are owned and operated by local Dee Cole. When Cole isn’t serving old recipes of great food and refreshing drinks at the Pizza Pub, she is breathing new life into old, broken antiques at Paulmorris, LLC.
Becoming her own boss was a risky move she had to take, Cole explained. She had been a legal secretary for years prior to going into business and decided it was time for something new.
“I don’t know how many single businesswomen there are in the area,” Cole said. “It is a major risk, because you have nothing to fall back on, so you have to work super, super, super hard. Which is what I’ve done here.”
Cole bought the Pizza Pub and its recipes, gave it a face-lift, and now, 10 years of work later, has turned it into one of the most visited dining spots in town.
“It has turned into a very nice place for people to come into,” Cole explained. “Single women can come into it and feel no pressure. Men can come in and sit at the bar and not have to feel weird if they are alone. It is also just a nice family restaurant atmosphere. We like to think we have it all here.”
Cole said the establishment is broken into three sections, an outdoors section, a backroom dining area away from the bar, and the bar and restaurant area.
“I am proud of the fact that we have a place where we don’t have any trouble. I like the idea of women, or single men, coming in and being comfortable and not having worry about sitting in a bar by themselves,” Cole explained. “We have worked to make this a cool, comfortable place to hangout, but it is also not a single’s place. Honestly, it has become a community place, where people of all types can come and enjoy the company of their neighbor.”
Cole said that owning a pub has become something she loves, no matter how stressful the business side of things can become. She said that she has met many wonderful people and has a collection of regulars that she respects and appreciates.
“I love the idea that we have judges and doctors and lawyers coming in with their families to have dinner, but then we also have the everyday working people, like myself, coming in for food and drinks,” Cole said. “The Pizza Pub has really become a modern Cheers, like from back in the day. Everybody knows everybody when they walk in our doors; they wave and exchange hellos and all of that, it is very nice.”
Cole believes that she has such a large array of guests because of the attention they put on their firebrick pizzas and carefully made drinks. The pizzas are made with fresh dough with each order, the recipes are old and reliable, and the food has that freshly cooked taste from their stone ovens.
Around the time things began to sail smoothly at the Pizza Pub, Cole was devastated by the unexpected loss of her brother, Paul Morris.
As a unique coping method, Cole began fixing old furniture, which led to complete new designs and refurbishing. She would spend hours of her nights in a garage, creating new things out of old things, until her two-car garage was full and she had an entire supply of furniture with nothing to do with it.
Cole’s new hobby became more than a coping mechanism, as she learned how to properly fix antiques and started using her own unique touches to make them modern and showy.
“This new venture is truly my stress reliever. The Pizza Pub, while I love it and it is going well, is still stressful. Paulmorris, LLC allows me to let all that loose. Sure, it is a lot of work, too, but I truly love doing it.”
She moved into her space on Eleventh Street and placed inventory on the floor quickly. Within weeks, her merchandise was gone and she was back in the shop making more.
“It has been going well,” Cole said. “I have had many comments about how Portsmouth needs what I’m offering and that feels so good to hear.”
She has since spent her down time buying hopelessly broken antiques and reviving them in her shop, making them an entirely new object.
“I’m not buying priceless antiques that are cornerstones of their times,” Cole explained. “I am buying stuff that is old and broken and lifeless. I restore them and paint them and do everything I can to give them new life, so that they may live another hundred years.”
Cole said that she sees some similarities in her two businesses.
When Cole bought the Pizza Pub, the building was sort of an antique itself, with a history going back to the early 1900’s. She said it took a lot of work to clean it up and give it a new look, while also keeping the old touches.
“I feel like I have to be careful when I do things to the Pizza Pub,” Cole said. “It needed work done, yes, but I needed to do enough to make it something that would do well today, but also have the history and touches of the past. This place doesn’t belong to just me, it belongs to all of Scioto County and I have to respect that. I feel like I’ve done a good job at renovating it and cleaning it up, but also leaving it true to itself.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.