Fox's in business more than 30 years on Jeannette's Third Street
One of the best kept secrets in Jeannette might just be the cozy dining room at Fox's Pizza Den located at 620 N. Third St.
The dining room is decorated with vintage photographs of owner Vaughn Gongaware's family including a large photographic portrait of his great-great grandmother Margaret Ludwick and a panoramic picture taken in 1912 of a family reunion at Oakford Park.
The room also sports a wood burning to stove to add to the vintage feel.
Gongaware is from North Huntingdon where he resides with his wife the former Peggy Conway, who is a graduate of Jeannette High School. The couple has two sons, Joshua who is attending St. Vincent College and Alec, who is a junior at Norwin High School.
Fox's Pizza, according to Gongaware is a “family operation.” Recently, another family member has joined the crew. Peggy's brother, Patrick Conway, is the new chef. A graduate of Jeannette High School, Conway has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, working 25 of those years as a chef.
Gongaware purchased the Fox's franchise 34 years ago and has been in business at the Third Street location ever since.
“Our location is different than most Fox's which are just take-out and delivery,” he said. “Very few have eat-in, fewer have liquor licenses and even fewer have the extensive menu that we have.”
Since hiring Conway, the menu has expanded and both Gongaware and Conway hope to grow the business in the dining room. As well as carrying the traditional Fox's menu which includes appetizers, pizza, pasta, soups, salads and other Italian fare, the restaurant now has a daily special menu created by Conway that includes dishes such as stuffed banana peppers, asiago chicken lasagna and sandwiches that include a French onion burger with caramelized onions and Swiss cheese.
“Pat bakes our bread, we make our own sausage,” Gongaware said. “Fox's use only quality ingredients and we don't skimp. Patrick knows what he is dong and he does it right. We are small enough that we can do that.”
A full catering menu is available and Fox's has catered events for as many as 350 people. The dining room is also available for small parties and events for up to 60 people, such as showers, birthdays and graduations. The bread and butter of Fox's Pizza Den is the take-out and delivery business. Gongaware said most of his customers live within one or two miles of the restaurant.
There are about 10 people employed by Gongaware and most are from Jeannette. Gongaware is also the owner of the Fort Pitt Hotel which is a bar business downstairs which serves the full Fox's menu.
Hours of operation for the dining room are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 4-9 p.m. Take-out hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 8 p.m. The tavern is open from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Monday through Saturday.
Gongaware is on site most of the time except for a few hours on Monday. For more information, call 724-527-9875 or visit the website at FoxsPizzaDenJeannette.com.
Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.