How Tony Tolli Turned Fashionable Apizza right into a New Haven Icon

Associated: The mystique and magic of New Haven-style pizza

At first look, Antonio “Tony” Tolli’s origin story may appear just a little backwards for the pizza business. He was born in Plainville, Connecticut, and raised in Italy (as a substitute of the opposite approach round). However upon returning to his beginning state, he earned his place in American pizza historical past all the identical with the now-legendary Fashionable Apizza.

Tolli got here house to Connecticut in 1930 and realized the baking commerce from his uncle, Giuseppe Marzullo, who owned a profitable pastry store in New Haven. Tolli’s first solo enterprise, a pizzeria co-owned with Marzullo’s son, lasted solely two years, however he instantly went again into the enterprise with the brand new Tony’s Apizza, opened on State Avenue in 1936, to serve the world’s many Italian immigrants. There, he labored with a coke-fired oven and offered pies for 25 cents.

That idea, renamed Fashionable Apizza in 1944, would change palms over the a long time, however the beloved pizza recipe remained untouched. And over time, Tony grew to become often called Tony Apizza, though his spouse wasn’t loopy about being referred to as Mrs. Apizza.

Photograph courtesy Fashionable Apizza

Even with the pizzeria’s lasting success over greater than a half century, when present house owners Invoice and Mary Pustari took the helm in 1988, they centered on proving themselves within the shadow of town’s extra well-known Wooster Avenue pizzerias—making renovations, increasing seating and recommitting to the shopper expertise.

At this time, Fashionable Apizza has grow to be a firmly established legend in a legendary pizza city, propelled by impassioned word-of-mouth and a stream of awards, accolades and media consideration.

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However the Pustari household hasn’t rested on fame alone. Whether or not delivery pies to troopers in the course of the Iraq conflict or organizing month-to-month efforts to feed the homeless, giving again remained a cornerstone of the corporate’s ethics. Fashionable Apizza additionally isn’t afraid to maintain up with the occasions (assume gluten-free and vegan-friendly pies). Erica Pustari, daughter of Invoice and Mary, toting a level in hospitality, ultimately joined the household enterprise and added an Instagram account to unfold the phrase about the whole lot from new beers on faucet to visits from its many superstar followers.

“We’ve hosted Steven Spielberg right here and produce the Yankees pizza after they’re coaching, however everybody is similar to us,” Erica stated when Fashionable Apizza was inducted into PMQ’s Pizza Corridor of Fame. “We’re very fortunate to be identified now everywhere in the nation, however we don’t search that out. It occurs due to the love individuals have for pizza.”

Certainly, Fashionable Apizza even landed its personal starring position in a film that delves into the enduring New Haven fashion, referred to as “Pizza, A Love Story.” However the household’s actual pleasure is offering an ideal expertise day-after-day for its clients—whether or not they’ve traveled cross-country to strive a Clam On line casino pie or go to each week from across the nook. “It simply makes us actually joyful that our pizza makes individuals joyful,” Erica stated. “We’re proud to be right here day-after-day, offering an ideal atmosphere and product for individuals to take pleasure in. That’s what life is all about.”

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Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor and editor of PizzaVegan.com.