100-Year-Old Pizzeria Seeks New Owner, Bans Pineapple
Image Credit - Instagram / @totonnospizza
by Alex Bailey | June 26, 2024

100-Year-Old Pizzeria Seeks New Owner, Bans Pineapple

Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitana, a 100-year-old Coney Island eatery, is looking for a buyer or partner to keep its legacy alive, but it has one important condition. Totonno's has made it through fires, floods, and even COVID, but there's one thing they'll never tolerate: pineapple on their pizza.


As reported by the New York Post, Antoinette Balzano, granddaughter of founder Antonio Pero, made it clear: "My grandfather would turn in his grave to hear pineapples. Clams? Oh my God."


The pizzeria's story began in 1924 when Pero, an Italian immigrant, opened Totonno's. His story is a personification of the American dream. Balzano proudly states, "To come here with no money, no family and people are still talking about him 100 years later: How many people can say that unless you're a movie star or Mozart?"


RELATED: P.Pole: The Fast-Casual Pizza Prodigy


Today, Totonno’s Pizzeria is a favorite of many, including actor Danny DeVito and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. The restaurant is famous for its coal-fired oven, a rarity in modern New York City.  Paulie Gee, a well-known pizzeria owner, told the New York Post about his first visit to Totonno's: "I had a pizza-piphany. Up until I came here, I just knew NY-style pizza. Then I found out about this place, and they said it was a coal burning oven pizza and I really loved it."


Loyal customers have been coming to Totonno's for decades. Teddy Davis, a 65-year-old who's been eating there since he was 10, said, "I have been coming here for 55 years, do I need to say anything else?"


The current owners, Balzano and her sister Louise "Cookie" Ciminieri, are looking for a generation change. At 73, Balzano explains they're "way past the age of retiring and lack the necessary manpower to keep things going."


Ciminieri, who has worked at Totonno's for 47 years, is open to selling but insists on keeping everything the same. She adds, "I'll probably still be here. We're still looking, but I'll probably still be here until I'm a hundred."

by Alex Bailey | June 26, 2024 | SHARE