An Italian immigrant, and now his son, juggle full-time jobs and pizzeria ownership, building an American-dream story through three generations and counting.
Mike Fiorentino, an Italian immigrant, was not afraid of hard work upon arriving in the United States. After serving in the U.S. Army, he landed a job at IBM. But his real dream was opening a pizzeria—and that goal materialized in 1972 when he established the 400-square-foot Broadway Pizza in White Plains, New York. Unfortunately, the business was not an immediate success. “He was at the point, in the first year or two, where he was actually going to close the shop,” explains his son, Michael, current co-owner with Rudy Sainovic (who worked at the pizzeria for 25 years before becoming a business partner). “He never quit his job at IBM—he was doing both.”
Luckily, the pizzeria did eventually hit its stride. Broadway Pizza was one of the first in Westchester County to offer delivery, and Mike expanded to a second storefront in 1982 (later buying the property in 1997) to more than triple his modest space. In 1985, he opened a second location in Armonk, and a third followed in Katonah in 1996 (both are still standing today, though sold by Mike as he transitioned to retirement in the 2000s). His family, including wife Gina, brother Ralph, daughters Monica and Daniela, and Michael, all pitched in to make the family-run business a success. Amazingly, Michael, like his father, also currently maintains a second job, as a full-time firefighter.
After 50 years in business, customers and employees have also become family—sometimes literally. “My dad told me to always be nice, that the No. 1 thing is to treat customers like family and be patient,” Michael says. “So many of the local kids here grew up working for my father, and now there are three generations of families that have been coming in. My dad made close friends who started off as customers. I met my wife working there, and my two sisters met both of their husbands there, too.”
Today, that personal touch, a dedication to maintaining food quality in the face of rising costs, a sprinkling of social media activity, and committed community involvement serve as the main marketing tactics for this White Plains institution. Creative specialty pies like the best-selling Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, a third-party presence on Slice and Grubhub, and solid catering business also help keep the pizzeria thriving. “Next, I’d like to expand the business,” Michael says. “We have more space in our backyard, so I’d love to build a bigger store, with a bigger, more modern kitchen. And my dad has eight grandkids, from ages five to 21, so we’re definitely breeding them for the next generation!”
Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor and the editor of PizzaVegan.com.