Harrison City pizza shop name sparks Aiello brothers' 'family feud'
Pete Aiello's late father made his family's name famous among Pittsburgh pizza buffs. So when Aiello left the family business last summer to start his own restaurant in Harrison City, he wanted to honor the skills his father, an Italian immigrant, honed at his Squirrel Hill shop.
But Aiello's decision to use the family name for Aiello's Pizzeria is contributing to a crusty feud with his brother, Mike, who now runs Aiello's Pizza, which opened in 1978.
Though the brothers share a bloodline with the popular family patriarch who died last year, both say there is no link between the similarly named restaurants that are separated by 20 miles.
And Pete Aiello, 38, makes no apologies for his soon-to-open Walnut Street restaurant's name and contends that a last name can be a “big benefit” for someone in the second or third generation of a craft. His culinary experience includes 25 years with his father's business.
“That's my last name, and I have a good reputation. So that's what I wanted it to be,” said Pete Aiello, who owned a Pizza Roma franchise on Pittsburgh's North Side from 2002 to 2005.
His brother is trying to keep his distance. Mike Aiello acknowledged it's a “family feud” but referred questions about the rift to his sibling.
“I don't want to jump in anyone's pool,” Mike Aiello said last week.
The response was a little more blunt when a customer asked about the opening of the “Penn Township location” on the Facebook page for the Squirrel Hill restaurant.
Aiello's Pizza posted a statement saying the new restaurant was “using our name to help establish their business.” The family connection isn't mentioned.
If there were a problem with his restaurant's name, Pete Aiello said, the Pennsylvania Department of State wouldn't have let him register “Aiello's Pizzeria LLC” last August. His father, Giuseppe “Joe” Aiello, registered “Aiello's Pizza” in the 1970s.
Every aspect of a business — especially the name — is a marketing opportunity, said Michael Shepherd, an Ohio-based restaurant owner and pizzeria consultant.
The right name sparks a customer to ask questions to learn more about a business, Shepherd said. And name recognition, such as that for an existing brand, can be worth a lot, he said.
“Sometimes, if the place has been around for 50 years, that itself can be in the marketing,” Shepherd said.
Pete Aiello, who said he learned everything he knows from his father, said he isn't worried about any confusion about his new restaurant.
He said he has his “own little twist” on the pizza he'll sell, and everything — from the mozzarella to the pastries — will be handmade.
Will the food taste similar to Aiello's Pizza?
“I'm going to let the customers judge that,” he said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-871-2363 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission cuts community fees for next year
- Declining enrollment a factor in future of Penn-Trafford School District’s buildings
- Penn Township woman’s ‘son’ steps up to donate kidney
- Trafford mayor resigns, councilman gives up presidency
- Penn Township dumps Waste Management, picks up Republic Services