1410 BLIZZARD DRIVE
THE PASSION FOR PIZZA
On the coast of Naples, Italy, in a small hilltop town, our story begins. Francesco (Franco) Scotto Rinaldi, his brother Giuseppe (Pepe) and brother-in-law Michele (Miguel) Scotto di Luzio were born in Monti Di Procida and grew up like most seaside boys do; dreaming of boats and the open sea. All three started their Maritime career learning to pilot and repair ships, both large and small. However, Franco decided he wanted more than a life at sea in which he rarely got to see his family and decided to give the American dream a try. Already having family in America, he left Italy with his new wife Maria and set sail for New York.
Franco’s first job making pizza and where he learned to make the Sicilian style was in the USA at DaVinci’s on 18th Ave in Brooklyn, NY. After realizing a love for making pizza, an opportunity came for him to purchase his own pizzeria. After receiving financial help from family, he purchased Jerry’s Pizza in Merrick Long Island, NY. Learning to run his own restaurant, Franco brought in his nephew, Mike Ruscitto and taught him how to make pizza. Mike R. and Franco turned out to be a good team. Wanting to expand, they went to PA and checked out the Monroeville Mall. The mall was looking to open a pizzeria with a bigger name and were told to checkout a new mall about 3 hrs away in Parkersburg, WV. Franco and Mike R. came to The Grand Central Mall and never looked back. Mike R. ran the mall for several years solo. As business increased Franco returned more frequently to help. Seeing potential in the Mid-Ohio Valley, Franco moved his family to Parkersburg and sold Jerry’s Pizza.
Feeling it was time to expand again, Franco brought in his brother Pepe and brother -in-law Miguel to join them. Together they incorporated as partners and opened the Dudley Ave store in 1980 and Southside in 1981. A family friend, John Gerraffo, was invited from NY to help run the southside store. Soon, the partners were ready to expand again, first into Meadow Brooke Mall in Clarksburg, WV and again in Myrtle Beach, SC. John continued his love for making pizza and eventually bought the Clarksburg store and now has more pizzerias in the SC area. Business flourished and The Pizza Place quickly became a staple in the community. Because of the hard work and dedication by all partners and those they trained to become skilled pizza makers, the name Pizza Place is known by many far and wide.
In 1998, Mike R. decided it was time to start a new journey and separated from the business unit. He bought from the partners the mall location and Myrtle Beach. Rebranding the mall location as “The Original Pizza Place” and later opening a new store in Marietta, OH.
The family continues to run the Dudley Avenue and Southside locations with 2nd and 3rd generation family members. Following the original recipes, and using ingredients shipped from NJ, all to keep the pizza tasting as good as it has from day one.
COOKING RULE No. 1
If at first you don't succeed, order pizza