How did you get started in the pizza industry?
Well, it actually all started with my family. My family has had a pizzeria in Arlington, Massachusetts for about 36 years now and so pretty much me and my sister were raised in the business. Before we could drive or anything else we were making pizza at the shop. I went to school for engineering, but after being in the industry for a few years, I found that it wasn’t as steady as I hoped it would be. Through the years of watching my father and mother running their pizzeria, they’d always had a steady flow of income, so i thought that it would be a good decision to open a pizza place.
Why did you choose to open up your pizzeria in Provo?
I went to school up in Logan, Utah about 13 years ago. I loved that area so much that I wanted to come back to Utah. When talking to my wife, she just thought Logan might be too small of a market to open up a pizza place, and then we thought Salt Lake might be a little too big, so we chose to kind of go in the middle with the Provo/Orem area.
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Has the economy effected business or have you noticed any change?
Yeah. Usually we make most of our profits during the months of March and April and a little into May. This March, April, and May were really bad, I think we might have posted a loss, which we’re never supposed to do around that time. Since then, we’ve tried to be a lot more aggressive with our advertising, with our discounting, and just trying as much as possible to give people more of a reason to come to our establishment.
What’s the most popular item on the menu?
I would say the two most popular items are the Margarita pizza and the Special. We also have a pizza called the Mark Antony, which was actually inspired by a pasta dish my mother used to make for a customer named Mark Antony. It was a really spicy pasta dish, and we use that same recipe, but on a pizza. We add bacon to it for a little more of a salty flavor. It’s been a really big hit for us just because it is so unique. You can’t get anything like that at any other pizza place around here.
Do you have a personal favorite on the menu?
I always find myself going back to the cheese pizza. When I’m not sure what I want to have I just have a cheese pizza and that’s always the best.
What would you say defines a good pizza?
One of the biggest things that makes a
difference are the ovens that you use. We use a real brick oven. I think you have to go with a real brick oven to get that nice, crispy bottom and no sogginess in the crust. The other element of the pizza that really makes a difference are the recipes. It’s all been passed on through my dad who tinkered for years and years with his recipes until he was finally satisfied with them.
Your logo is “Homemade Boston Italian Style Pizza.” Does that refer to the way the pizza is made or mainly the accent?
Mostly the way the pizza’s made. “Homemade Italian Style Pizza” used to be my parents’ slogan in Arlington. We injected the “Boston” just so people would know where the restaurant’s real origins were from. We also wanted to distinguish it from New York style. When people refer to New York pizza, they actually want it to kind of flop in the middle. If i ever made a pizza that way, my mom would probably slap me with a paddle. She was always saying, ‘Make sure your middles are thick.’ If the middles are thin, people aren’t going to be able to eat the pizza because it’s going to fall on them and make a mess.
What do you want people to know about Nicolitalia?
This is a business that was built on a family tradition. Everything that we’re doing here are things that I have learned from my mother and father many, many years ago. We’re trying to pass on that tradition to the community.