An Arnold staple, Fazio’s Pizza & Italian Food lives on | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

An Arnold staple, Fazio’s Pizza & Italian Food lives on

Madasyn Lee
1987892_web1_VND-BTVFazio2-120319
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Joe Malaspina and Tabatha Thomas work at preparing a Fazio’s specialty sandwich, Double Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
1987892_web1_VND-BTVFazios1-120319
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Mickey Fazio, former owner of Fazio’s Bakery in Arnold, is pictured with new co-owner Richard Thimons on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.

Editor’s note: Building the Valley tells stories of businesses big and small and the employees who make them special. If you know of any standout employees, bosses or companies with a great story to tell, contact reporter Madasyn Lee at [email protected]

Fazio’s Pizza & Italian Food in Arnold is still open for business.

It’s just under new ownership.

Richard Thimons and his son Richard Thimons Jr. bought the business for $300,000 in May after they saw an article in the Tribune-Review that it was for sale.

They didn’t want it to just fade away.

Brothers Mickey and Frankie Fazio previously owned Fazio’s, which opened in 1968. They announced their plans to retire and sell the business last year.

“I’ve known Mickey a long time, so I started chatting with him. We joked back and forth and he was like, ‘Why don’t you buy it?’” said Richard Thimons, 59, of Brackenridge. “Then my son got involved. He says, ‘Dad, Fazio’s has been there forever. Why don’t we keep it alive and buy it?’ ”

Frankie Fazio moved to Florida, but Mickey Fazio, who lives in New Kensington, can usually be found at the store on Tuesdays and Fridays.

He works in a free, advisory role.

“I’ll never learn what he knows,” Richard Thimons said of Mickey Fazio. “He still goes down in the Strip, does all our orders, picks up all our orders. He comes in Fridays — that’s our busiest day — and it helps. I will take it all. I can’t learn enough from someone that’s been here 50 years.”

Mickey Fazio said it’s a relief to be able to go home and not have to worry about the business anymore.

It started out as a pizza shop and has expanded into a deli, specialty market and bakery.

“When you’re in business for yourself, everything’s on your shoulders,” he said. “I’m here two days a week just for advice and catching up, trying to teach him what to do.”

Mickey Fazio still comes to the store because it’s hard to walk away from the place where he worked for so long. He enjoys seeing his old customers. A lot of them still stop by to see him.

“I see them around town, but it’s not the same,” he said.

The business has basically remained the same with a few new additions, such as adding soup to the lunch menu.

“To keep something alive like this, that’s been a staple in this community for so long, intrigued me,” Richard Thimons said. “Our objective is to keep everything the way he’s kept it. That’s what people like when they come in and make comments to me.”

Chef Joe Malaspina has worked at Fazio’s for about a year. He said all the recipes he uses are Fazio recipes.

“That was one thing that we never wanted to change,” he said. “Why would you want to change something that isn’t broken? The only thing that we’re here to do is keep that tradition going.”

Curtis Caldwell was at the store last week to buy lunch meat, cheese and buns.

He likes that everything there is pretty much homemade.

“They have the best lunch meat around. The buns are super. They have great cookies, not that I need them,” he joked.

He’s friends with Mickey Fazio and Richard Thimons and is happy the tradition is going to continue.

“The quality of the products, the quality of the people, it’s a hometown atmosphere,” said Caldwell, 53, of Upper Burrell. “From Mickey to Rich, everything’s going to remain the same.”

Madasyn Lee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at [email protected], 724-226-4702 or via Twitter.

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.