( time capsule )
Aldo’s II Pizzeria & Restaurant
This Ozone Park customer favorite,
celebrating 50 years in 2012, has
been feeding neighborhood pizza
lovers for generations.
Aldo Calore, owner of Aldo’s II Pizzeria & Restaurant in Ozone
Park, New York, entered the pizza business at 16 years old, working at New Park Pizza in nearby Howard Beach. But at 21, after
getting married, he knew it was time to branch out on his own.
So in 1962 he opened Aldo’s, a neighborhood pizzeria with affordable prices (back then, a slice-and-soda combo cost 25 cents,
and a large pie was just a buck). Today, despite rising costs for
ingredients, he still maintains a reasonably priced menu. “Some
things have gotten very expensive over the years, but pizza is
supposed to be cheap, something that anyone can afford,” says
Calore, who now sells $2 slices and $12 pies.
Luckily, because customers already knew him as a
pizza maker at New Park, he never had to advertise and continues to see a steady stream
of regulars returning for the pizza they grew up with. Aldo’s sells both thin-crust and Sicilian pies, but chicken rolls are also among the business’ bestsellers. Fried calzones, now a
hit in trendy Manhattan pizzerias, have been popular at Aldo’s for years. With two sides to
the business—an Italian restaurant and a pizzeria—families can choose a casual setting or a
more formal sit-down dining experience, and catering has also proven a hit with customers.
“Something always comes up in the pizza business, but we just do our best and try to please
everybody,” says manager Gino Gabrielli, Calore’s son-in-law, who’s been working at the
pizzeria for 25 years.
Now, the next generation is learning
the ins and outs of the pizzeria: Gabri-
elli’s son and nephew both work in the
business. Though both Calore and Ga-
brielli concede that owning a pizzeria is challenging, they
say they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “I’m stuck in here—I can’t ever
leave!” laughs Calore. “But in this business, you have to do it every day, seven
days a week, and a lot of hours every day, to succeed.” –Tracy Morin
s a r kn
(Clockwise from top) Aldo holds a pie at the beginning
of his pizzeria career in the 1960’s; the late ’80s
found Goodfellas cast members (including Robert
De Niro and Joe Pesci) eating at the pizzeria while
shooting the film; Aldo tosses dough in the ’70s.
Has your pizzeria been in business for 50 or more years?
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