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Pair bring personal touch to Ponte's Pizza

| Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tyler Bridge got added advice from his attorney when finalizing the deal on owning a pizza shop.

"We had the paperwork done, but when my lawyer asked me about a name, I said we didn't have one," Bridge says. "So he suggested we use the word for my last name in Italian. And I think it's perfect."

Ponte means bridge in Italian, so Ponte's Pizza became the name when Bridge, 26, and his girlfriend, Jordan Carr, 21, opened the doors to the Mt. Lebanon restaurant a month ago. Bridge says he always wanted to have his own business. He says he understands what it takes to be successful with a restaurant, because of his combined experience working in pizza shops and his job as an assistant general manager at First Watch Cafe in Robinson and Cranberry. He also has a degree in hospitality management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

"It feels good to have something that is ours," Bridge says. "I have a lot of ideas, and it will be fun trying new things and making this our pizza place. I have always wanted to do something like this, so it is wonderful it's happening."

The couple lives in Moon. She originally is from Robinson; he is from Mars. As a nursing student at Robert Morris University, Carr will help when she is not in school. She contributed the sauce recipe.

"This is really exciting," Carr says. "I never thought I would own a pizza shop, but I am looking forward to it. ... We have already seen a lot of the same customers coming back, which is great."

Paige Kraszewski of Kennedy is one of them.

"I love the pizza here," she says. "The crust is thin, which I love, and the sauce is sweet. The buffalo chicken is my favorite pizza. It's amazing."

Everything is house made. Bridge is the dough creator. His secret is, in addition to salt, water, yeast and flour, is olive oil and honey.

Cheese pizzas are $8 for a small, $10 for a large and $12 for an extra large. There are 16 toppings to choose from. Pizzas are available with white sauce. Specialty pizzas include BBQ chicken, which has bacon, sliced chicken, red onion and mozzarella cheese, for $16.50 for an extra large. The Greek is a white pizza with feta, mozzarella, sliced tomato, artichokes and black olives for $17.50 for an extra large. There are buffalo chicken, meat lover and veggie specialty pies. Other sizes are available in the specialty pizzas. Pizza also can be bought by the slice.

Hoagies include vegetarian, meatball, Italian, chicken Parmesan and chicken salad on Cellone's Bakery rolls. Prices range from $6.50 to $7.50 for a 6-inch to $8.50 to $9.50 for a 12-inch. You can get these sandwiches as wraps, too.

Extras include breadsticks with marinara sauce for $5 and pepperoni roll with marinara for $5.

Bridge plans to expand the menu and foresees adding healthy items such as salads and other sandwiches and gluten-free choices. He is going to try and use as much locally organically grown items as he can, and eventually will deliver.

For those on the run, call ahead or stop in for the "Rush Hour" special -- an extra-large cheese pizza for $8.99 good from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

"We know people are busy, especially during the week, so we want to make things a little easier," Bridge says.

Additional Information:

Ponte's Pizza

Location: 1689 McFarland Road in Mt. Lebanon (across from the Dormont Pool).

Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays

Details: 412-343-6100 or

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