SOUTHINGTON - Nonna Artemisiaâ€™s Pizzeria is under new management, run by first-time business owner Ace Memeti, the former chef at Formaggio Apizza Ristorante, and his family.
Memeti took over Nonnaâ€™s, 131 Center St., in mid-April. His father, Resmi, had just been laid off from tool factory Truelove & Maclean Inc. after 22 years. The family then decided to go all-in on supporting Memetiâ€™s culinary talents and make Nonnaâ€™s their own.
â€śIn a way, I am extremely blessed that they made the mistake of letting him go,â€ť said Memeti. â€śThis being the first business that Iâ€™ve owned, itâ€™s a lot for me to handle and I wouldnâ€™t be able to do it myself without the help of my father, Resmi, my mother, Sabrije, my brother, Jim and my sister, Tina.â€ť
Since April, Memeti said that he has been â€śextremely busyâ€ť running the family business.
â€śThe amount of support that I have received from Southington has been tremendous,â€ť he said. â€śA lot of people that were my customers at Formaggioâ€™s started coming here once they found out I owned it. Itâ€™s a lot of work, but at the end of the day it feels good that everybody gets to experience my pizza and cooking.â€ť
Memeti described his pizza as a mix of the New York-style thin crust and the crispier New Haven-style pizza. However, he said that he can create any style of pizza, with thicker or thinner crust, to customersâ€™ tastes. Nonnaâ€™s also serves wings, grinders and sandwiches.
â€śMy goal is to put Connecticut on the map for pizza like New York, Chicago and New Jersey,â€ť he said. â€śMy chef, David Lopez, is phenomenal in the kitchen - I couldnâ€™t ask for a better cook. Vito Perez is my right-hand man when it comes to making pizza.â€ť
Memeti said that his family chose Center Street because it is â€śdefinitely the spot to be in Southingtonâ€ť for food and bars. He said that he tries to visit other bars and restaurants in the area often.
â€śItâ€™s business owners reaching out and giving each other a helping hand,â€ť he said. â€śYou help someone and they will do the same for you.â€ť
One way in which Memeti has collaborated with other businesses in the area is by offering â€ślate night slicesâ€ť from midnight to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. He said that he has had a lot of people stop in from 75 Center and his neighbor, Groggy Frogg.
Memeti said that one of his menu items, the penne alla vodka pizza, received a lot of attention on the Southington Talks Facebook page and helped to put him on the map. He also credits his time working at Formaggioâ€™s, under owner Noreen Derocco, for giving him the experience to help him bring his pizza making to the next level.
With Memeti as their chef, Formaggio won three of the Southington Chamber of Commerceâ€™s Pizza Fest events, back when they were a contest instead of a pizza tasting. He also participated in the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, where he took third place in 2015. At the Pizza Expo, Memeti met a representative from Stanislaus Sauce, from Modesto, California, who helped him upgrade his pizza with their product.
â€śI am extremely proud of what Iâ€™ve done in the past,â€ť said Memeti. â€śAnd I am extremely blessed and excited to now have my own pizza business. I hope that people will come in and enjoy some of the worldâ€™s best pizza.â€ť
Nonnaâ€™s is open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
For more information on Nonnaâ€™s, call 860-863-5100, visit nonnaartemisiaspizzeria.com or connect on Facebook at facebook.com/giuannipizzaguy.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.