Bringing his love for traditional Italian cuisine to Greater Sudbury, Roberto Ferrucci’s second Pizzeria Roma 1894 location is expected to open Tuesday at 1507 Paris St.
The first location, at 1894 LaSalle Blvd., opened a couple years ago in the thick of the pandemic to what Ferrucci describes as immediate success.
“We were busy right off the hop,” he said, adding that he was enlisting various family members to help out at the time to keep up with demand. “It was crazy busy, and I was surprised. It was just go-go-go-go.”
The second location came out of a demand in the South End, which he said carries a great deal of his customer base.
In keeping with demand, he plans on opening a third location later this year.
Business is booming, he said - a point highlighted during a Wednesday afternoon interview with Sudbury.com, which he briefly interrupted to call in an employee to work the LaSalle Boulevard location due to a surge of customers.
But, what makes the business popular enough to warrant such rapid growth, and who’s the guy behind it?
Ferrucci was born and raised in Sudbury.
His parents were from Italy, and he still spends time at his family’s villa on Ponza Island every summer, where he also helps out at his uncle’s pizza shop.
His hands first hit dough at the age of 10 at a pizzeria his uncle operated in Manhattan at the time.
“It was the first time I had my hands in dough and I couldn’t get out of it,” he said.
Ferrucci went on to open several Square Boy Pizza franchises, but found himself drawn to do something for himself and more genuinely tied to his roots. He wanted to open a pizza place that produced food more akin to what he was making at home for family and friends.
It turns out the community wanted that too, with Pizzeria Roma 1894 taking off and now facing expansion to additional locations.
Pizzas are wood-fired, which he said adds a unique flavour to the pies, and he credits the dishes with the strongest links to Italian cuisine as being among their most popular.
The Margarita pizza has fresh basil, garlic, oregano, Italian tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. The Godfather pizza has prosciutto, calabrese salami, Italian sausage, green peppers and sauteed fresh mushrooms.
The South End location is expected to open early next week for what Ferrucci described as a soft opening to help ease his new staff of between seven and eight people into their new roles.
“You just can’t pick it up and you have it,” he said of pizza-making. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’m still learning.”
Ferrucci credits chef Stuart Raymond with helping bring his dream to reality.
For more information on Pizzeria Roma 1894 and their menu, click here.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.