When he opened Pino’s Pizza in Cleveland Circle in 1962, Feliciano Petruzziello said he had a strong background making pizza dough by hand because he grew up in Avellino, Italy, making it with his mother.
But Petruzziello said it still took him a couple of years before he mastered making the best pizza for his Brighton restaurant. Anyone can make pizza, he said, but the real trick to making dough is taking into consideration the humidity and the weather outside.
“I didn’t become an expert overnight,” Petruzziello said. “It came over several years.”
Next week will mark the 50th Anniversary of Petruzziello’s restaurant at 1920 Beacon Street, and he said today there’s no doubt about what is the star of his menu.
“The pizza, it’s super, unquestionably,” he said.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of his restaurant, Petruzziello, who is better known as Phil” to his customers, is going to offer 50 percent off his entire menu on Monday, April 2 and Tuesday, April 3.
Sunday he will also be giving away T-shirts for the 50th Anniversary of Pino’s Pizza, which is next to Eagle’s Deli near the Brighton/Brookline border.
Petruzziello, who is 78 years old and lives in Brookline, said once he mastered making pizza, he began expanding his menu to include other things, such as sub sandwiches. He said he believes much of the success of his restaurant is a result of his efforts to use good quality flour for his pizza, as well as fresh tomatoes. Pino’s Pizza also bakes its own meatballs, he said.
By 1980 his business was doing well enough to double in size and he added more seats and purchased new ovens. Today, Petruzziello said he is semi-retired, but he has made longtime employee Norman Osmani his partner at the business.
Petruzziello said students and faculty from Boston College have been important to his business and the Cleveland Circle community, but many of his customers are from Brookline.
Petruzziello said he’s not surprised that his restaurant has lasted 50 years, because he has worked hard and he knew he had the determination and tenacity to make Pino’s Pizza last.
“I’m the Statue of Liberty of Cleveland Circle,” he said.