It’s tough to find silver linings in the restaurant business when it comes to COVID-19 and its impact, but Ryan Nesci at Tony V’s Pizza might have found two secrets to continued success amid a global pandemic.
The casual dining eatery, located in the heart of the South End offered take out and frozen foods to its clientele, which proved to be a hit for those tired of cooking and preparing meals when going out was not an option.
Meat and veggie lasagnas, one-of-a-kind frozen full- and half-sized pizzas, pasta and sauces can be purchased on-site. These easy-peasy meals are also available at sister company spots like Amici in Lively and New Sudbury, and on its website, as well as D&A Fine Meats, owned by his father, Andrew Nesci.
And not only have the take-out options been a hit, the “wine to go” system has also been popular with customers.
“It’s an opportunity for patrons to try selections that are not available at liquor stores,” said Nesci.
He’s happy to see this opportunity is now permanent in Ontario. “It is one-stop shopping for patrons who want a great homemade meal and a quality bottle of wine,” he said.
Tony V’s has been under Nesci’s ownership since 2010. That’s when he bought the business from Tony and Diane Vlahopoulos, who opened the South End location in 1995. Before that, the dine-out nook was in New Sudbury on Barrydowne Road dating back to the 70s.
Nesci said his family was already making its mark in the food industry in Sudbury when he waded into the industry. Growing up, making pizza pies, pasta and flavourful sauces was what he knew best, so the restaurant business was the next logical step to take.
Many staple items remain the same since the Tony and Diane days. The menu is a blend of Canadian, Greek and Italian homemade meals.
One of the recipes he inherited with the restaurant purchase was the traditional stone-baked pizzas. The thin, crispy crust is a fan favourite. Ryan likes the “Zio Phil” with its salami, green olives and prosciutto. He says the No. 1 customer favourite is “Everything but Anchovies,” a deluxe style pizza with just the right amount of vegetables and meat toppings.
Ryan has also added more meat dishes like steak to the menu, along with salmon and appetizers. One item that comes highly recommended is the garlic bruschetta, which features a side of house-made bruschetta tomatoes and fresh feta for pure indulgence.
He says chicken parmesan is always a “go to” for customers. And anyone up for a fresh bowl of soup would be wise in choosing the cappelletti soup. Featuring plump meat-filled pasta carefully folded into the shape of little hats (‘cappelletti’ literally means ‘little hats’) has been a standard predating his ownership that has people always coming back for more.
Nesci said the goal of the restaurant dining room and the food served there is to make you feel like you are in an extension of your home. There is also a quiet dining room located on the bottom floor of the restaurant that can be reserved for larger gatherings when it is safe to do so.
He said customer loyalty is what drives him and keeps him as fresh as the food he serves.
“Customers want a good bang for their buck with reasonable portions and home-cooked, home-based foods,” he says.
To reserve a table inside or on the patio, or to order fully cooked frozen meals or order online, visit the website at TonyVs.com.
Anastasia Rioux is a freelance writer and good food lover in Greater Sudbury. Let’s Eat is made possible by our Community Leaders Program.