SOUTH PORTLAND — Otto Pizza is expanding again.
After opening its first location in the city at 159 Cottage Road last November, the fast-growing Portland pizza joint has leased space at 125 John Roberts Road, near the Maine Mall.
It will be Otto’s fourth location in Maine, and eighth total (four are in Massachusetts).
The Planning Board on Tuesday approved a special exemption for Otto to operate in the space; the vote was 6-0, with Rob Schrieber and Susan Hasson absent. Owen Hill, manager of Otto on Congress Street in Portland’s East End, represented co-owners Mike Keon and Anthony Allen, who were away on business.
Approval allows Otto to build a prep kitchen for storage of supplies and ingredients, as well as a 36-seat restaurant.
Like the chain’s other locations, the restaurant will provide pizza delivery. But more importantly, it will function as a central location for delivering supplies to the other restaurants in Portland and South Portland. The space on John Roberts Road is around 4,000 square feet, a departure from the chain’s smaller locations.
“We want to take some of the work off the kitchens in Portland and South Portland,” Hill said. “We run in typically very small spaces to lessen our environmental impact, so we’re kind of addressing that.”
The bulk of work done at John Roberts Road would be prepping ingredients for delivery to the smaller restaurants, Hill said.
“We want a more consistent product across our operation,” he said. “We try to use as much fresh produce as possible.”
“This is going to really help them out in the long run,” Community Planner Stephen Puleo said Friday before the meeting.
Hill was unable to say when the new location might open, although he estimated no later than this fall or winter.