Local Eats

How Good Luck Pizza Co. Became a New Saucy Sensation at PHL

Good Luck Pizza

Q&A with Marcie Turney, Owner and Chef of Bud & Marilyn’s and Good Luck Pizza Co., and Hakan Ilhan, President of Hakan Ilhan Restaurants and Operator of Good Luck Pizza Co. and Bud & Marilyn’s.

Passing through PHL got even tastier last March when a fashionably kitschy Neapolitan-style pizzeria by the name of Good Luck Pizza Co. landed in Terminal E. With its retro flair and irresistible Italian menu, it’s no wonder this gate-side hotspot is still stealing the show in 2024.

The story of Good Luck Pizza Co. kicks off in Center City Philadelphia with a restaurant concept hatched by culinary dream team Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, the same masterful duo behind several raved-about Midtown Village Philly restaurants, including Barbuzzo, Little Nonna’s, and Bud & Marilyn’s (which, in 2019, added a PHL location in Terminal C).

With the insight of seasoned restaurateur Hakan Ilhan, owner of Airport Dining, this concept officially took flight into PHL nearly one year ago and continues to serve up small bites, cocktails, and savory Neapolitan pizza to passengers from across the globe.

At Good Luck Pizza Co., there’s something tasty for everyone, even beyond the pizza offerings. Indulge in delicious starters like crispy, fried calamari and long hots or traditional Italian entrees like Rigatoni alla Vodka. With gluten-free accommodations and a stylish central bar, hungry travelers are always in luck.

So, whether you’re craving tender, to-die-for oven-baked pizza, traditional Italian flavors or simply seeking a cozy spot away from the hustle and bustle, Good Luck Pizza Co. brings a slice of happiness to your travel journey at PHL.

Here’s the inside scoop on how Good Luck Pizza Co. became a saucy, new sensation at PHL and an exclusive Q&A session featuring the rockstar restaurateurs who made it happen — Chef Marcie Turney and Hakan Ilhan.

Q: What was the inspiration to start this business?

Marcie: We wanted Good Luck Pizza to represent your neighborhood pizza joint. There’s thin- crust pizza, salad, and appetizers. It’s somewhere you can come by yourself or with your friends. It’s like an old-school, classic and casual restaurant vibe. The design and color scheme is like the old checker on the wall that you would’ve found in an old-school pizza shop.

Q: How do you see the establishment slotting into the Philly food scene?

Marcie: All our restaurants are casual. We create them based on spaces we would go once or twice a week as the neighborhood spot. The opportunity to take our restaurants to the airport was exciting because you can reach more people.

Q: What came before this for you and your leadership team, in terms of what prepared you for this venture?

Hakan: We are familiar with airport operations, as we are also at the Dulles Airport [IAD]. We understand airport locations, but I also have street locations in D.C. that are our own concepts, so we understand both well. Sometimes, you have a company that is good at one or the other and is not good at operating high-end brands. I think we were a good fit for Bud & Marilyn’s and Good Luck Pizza Co. to bring them in, because we present a good experience of both, and that’s what makes us unique in being able to develop these restaurants at the airport.

Q: What’s your personal favorite menu item?

Marcie: Meatballs, for sure; I love the asparagus pizza and even the classic margarita pizza too.

Hakan: I like the arancini and calamari at Good Luck Pizza Co., but I’m a huge fan of the pepperoni pizza.

Q: Did you envision your airport location to duplicate the streetside location? If not, in what ways did you make your airport location still original, but also unique?

Hakan: We duplicated the street, but the design was just a little different. It is a heavy bar concept layout more than a pizzeria style. Customers do tend to hang out at the bar more at the airport than at the streetside. Similar to the street, with an adopted design for the airport. The menu was pretty similar as well. A neat detail about the bar is that flight info is displayed on the wall across from the seating area so guests can keep track of time while they eat.

Q: If you wanted your audience to know one thing about your establishment, what would it be?

Marcie: Our restaurants are for everyone. You can come in sweats, jeans, anything. We have a casual atmosphere, and the service is hospitable, but not all over you — and to deliver on the food. In our restaurants, there is something nostalgic and to create a memory for everyone.

Hakan: We can offer the same experience as the street location when they’re flying out; it’s the same quality of service and food that we are aiming for as our standard. One shouldn’t feel any different eating at the street side versus the airport.