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