Ruckus Fast Fired Pizza, the newest addition to Talley dining options, made its debut last year in late February and has continued to delight students ever since. Known for their New York-style pizza, wings, salads, and cookies, Ruckus has become a favorite among students in the last few months– but what few students realize is that Ruckus has been a favorite of State students for over two decades and that their Wolfpack roots run much deeper than the store.
Robert and Ashley Royster met while attending NC State in the 80s, Robert was a junior studying business management and Ashley was a freshman majoring in engineering. The couple even had their first date at a pizza place on Hillsborough Street, after running into each other in the Brickyard. Today, they have three daughters all attending NC State, and a son still in high school who hopes to join the Wolfpack soon. Robert shared that the family even tailgates for most games at Carter Finley, the Roysters often have their own spot in the RV Lot outside the stadium and love to back the pack. “At the end of the day we all bleed red,” Robert says, “and we always will.”
After graduating in 1989 and 1991, respectively, Robert and Ashley both stayed in Raleigh and worked for several years before opening the first Ruckus location in Mission Valley shopping center, right off Avent Ferry, in 1998. Since then, the restaurant has become an immense success. In the years that followed, they opened locations in Cary, Apex, and Morrisville. The new location in Talley is their fifth, and they say one of the most meaningful.
When asked about what it was like to open this new location on campus with the university being so entrenched in the family’s history Robert said that “It felt like a homecoming. NC State has always been close to our hearts and Ruckus was a dream I had even while at State.” In many ways, the restaurant in Talley brings the Royster family and Ruckus full circle. To be back and involved again, through not only their children but the new location as well is a dream come true for everyone involved.
When they opened their first location in Mission Valley, Robert says that it was opened with students at the forefront of their minds. Both he and Ashley had noticed a lack of New York Style pizza and wanted to fill that hole while also giving students a place to get together. They had two main priorities: great pizza and even better experiences.
As the years have passed the couple has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in achieving these goals; Ruckus Pizza is consistently ranked among Cary Magazine’s “Best Of” Awards in a variety of categories and is also consistently nominated for Indy’s “Best Of” Awards. What Robert says is more rewarding though, is the response that Ruckus regularly receives from its customers.
“Just the other day I was talking to a family and the couple told me that they’d had their first date at the Mission Valley location, and now they’re taking their one-year-old to the Cary location for her first time at Ruckus,” Robert said that many of the people he meets are former State students who loved Ruckus while they were in school and have since gotten married, begun families, and continued coming to Ruckus. The best part, in his opinion, has always been and will always be the people.
The Ruckus Fast Fired Pizza location in Talley is just the next step in the story of Ruckus’s relationship with NC State and its students. With its ideal location and proximity to students, Robert hopes that the new location can continue bringing good food and memories to students and Wolfpack fans for years to come.