Celebrating 50 years of service in 2021, this Massachusetts institution has joined four generations of family members under the guidance of pizza patriarch James Fauci.
James Fauci’s father must have spotted a unique talent in his teenage son, who spent his high school years working in a pizzeria. After graduation, his father asked if he’d like to open his own shop. The family scouted financing for a two-table location in Lynn, Massachusetts, opening the doors to Fauci Pizza in 1971. “My mom, whose parents were from Italy, did our dinners, like ravioli and stuffed shells, using my grandmother’s recipes,” James recalls. “The first year is always the toughest, but after two months, it took off—it was nonstop after that.”
The pizzeria eventually moved next door in 1977, when a used car lot space became available, and sales tripled with the new, more-visible location. Though his two brothers eventually tried other careers away from the family business, James relished his restaurant responsibilities and logged 60- and 70-hour weeks for years. “I’ve always worked in restaurants and liked the food business; it’s been a big part of my life,” James says. “I like working with young employees, leading them in the right direction, teaching them to be the best they can be. And I like working with the public, meeting customers and talking to them. It’s like a big family.”
Today, his own family has also spent years in the business, including his wife, Paula; three sons, Jimmy, Michael and Luke; and three daughters, Lori, Danielle and Michelle. His 12-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, is already a rising star: She hosts Maddie’s Kitchen segments on Facebook videos—skits that show the personable youngster whipping up Fauci favorites in the pizzeria. James himself handles Facebook and Instagram pages for the business—he’s always enjoyed photography, and he learned the necessary tech skills to handle video shoots and social media in-house.
Meanwhile, Fauci Pizza maintains strong ties with the community that has supported the business for so many years. James donates pizzas for numerous local fundraisers, works with sports concession stands to raise money for kids’ teams, and hosts a Christmastime fundraiser for the police, among other efforts.
Running a one-location pizzeria that does 95% takeout and delivery, the Fauci family has sustained a steady focus throughout five decades, living on basic but indispensable principles: Treat people as you’d want to be treated, love what you do, don’t cut corners, and never be afraid of old-fashioned hard work. “We just took care of our one store and gave it 110%,” James says. “That first day we opened, I never dreamed we’d be in business this long. But I was always glad to go to work, and I still love being here. Now my kids have to tell me, ‘Go home, Dad!’”
Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor.
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