The 'Community Oven' wants to support the community
By Kyle Stucker
Hampton-NorthHamptonPatch.com, Tuesday, March 13, 2012
[The following article is courtesy of Hampton-NorthHamptonPatch.com.]
It didn't matter to Shane Pine that it was a cliché.
Fate, higher power or just pure coincidence, it didn't take long for the Hampton native to realize - and embrace - the significance of the location of his first restaurant venture.
There he stood, at 845 Lafayette Road, getting ready to carve out his spot as a business owner in the exact same lot in which he got his first taste of the restaurant business 23 years ago.
Pine couldn't have written a better backstory for The Community Oven, a new, full-scale, family-oriented, community service-focused pizzeria and bar that will officially open on March 31.
"When I came across this place, it was kind of weird feeling at first," said Pine, 38, who began his career at Newick's when it stood at 845 Lafayette. "Everything from that moment just fell into place. It was literally 'bang, bang, bang' and everything I needed to get done happened. I guess it's poetic justice or something. It's just one of those things - I know people say this all the time - but it all happened for a reason."
Pine said he hopes that reason is because the community is looking for a business that wants to not only feed the community in a creative way, but support the community itself and its causes.
The business, located in Unit 7 of the Seacoast Plaza, looks to serve its heavy community service focus along with interesting, wood-fired pizzas and dinner combinations in a relaxed, open-concept setting.
Also on tap for the menu are 16 craft beers from Blue Lobster Brew - a business in the process of opening next door to The Community Oven - as well as a root beer bar for children, make-your-own s'mores, and a bevy of dishes incorporating ingredients and items from local businesses.
Pine said supporting the community is something in which he wholeheartedly believes, and he said that has driven nearly every aspect of the creation of the business and the menu, right down to the companies grinding his countertops and equipping his 6,000-square-foot, four-section restaurant. "I want to bring something great to this town," said Pine, who recently worked in the Flatbread Company chain. "It's called The Community Oven for a reason.
"It can't be a one-way street. I want this community to support me, and I want to support them, through buying local and supporting the (Christmas) parade, local organizations and other businesses. I need to support what they're into for them to support what I'm into. That's what I hope, and think, will make me successful."
Pine said he hopes that mindset, along with strong relationships with nearby businesses on the north end of Lafayette Road, will help expand Hampton's business and restaurant base in order to make Lafayette Road more of a "destination" like downtown Portsmouth.
"I want to help get more people further down this end," he said. "I want to be another one of those places where everyone has a friendly, family experience without hurting their pocket too much."
The Community Oven will finalize its hiring process and work to finish its interior in the upcoming weeks before the Saturday, March 31, grand opening. More information about the family-owned, family-run business, which will also include an outdoor patio during the warm months, is available on The Community Oven Facebook page.