Sunday, February 3, 2019
By Amanda Tonoli
A 52-year-old township pizza shop has earned Food Network’s praise for its Brier Hill pizza.
Fernando Riccioni’s Wedgewood Pizza gained yet another award when Food Network chose it as one of its “31 Regional Pizza Styles.” To view the story visit http://bit.ly/2Ux8yzh .
The pizza is described as “a pan-cooked round covered with a thick sauce, bell peppers and Romano cheese” in the Food Network story.
“[It] is so popular in the Youngstown, Ohio, area that when Pizza Hut opened its doors here, the chain felt compelled to add it to the menu,” the story said.
Filomena Riccioni, Fernando Riccioni’s daughter and pizza shop manager, admitted when she first heard about the Food Network story, she thought it was a joke.
“When I think of favorites I don’t think of Brier Hill,” she said. “I think of our original or something like that.”
But Filomena conceded Wedgewood Pizza does make the Brier Hill as close to the original recipe as anywhere else in the area.
“I guess it is pretty nice for that,” she said. “It is a good pizza. It just holds.”
Her personal suggestion is to eat Brier Hill pizza the next day – cold.
In all, the Wedgewood Pizza family thinks the praise is well-deserved.
“It just means a lot personally,” Filomena said. “The fact that people think of us first for that is pretty damn cool – especially in a town full of pizza shops.”
“It’s really, really nice,” agreed Carol Geletka, Wedgewood secretary. “I think he [Fernando Riccioni] deserves all the accolades he gets. We’ve got the best pizza around, and it’s time the good people outside of this area realize that.”
Filomena echoed Geletka and said as a locally owned pizza shop, it is nice to keep getting the accolades.
“Local people get it, and I like it,” she said. “We deserve it.”
And being locally owned gives Filomena another place of pride.
“The franchises, they come in and push us out so it’s nice to hear us win once in awhile. It reminds people what’s good in this town, and it’s a plus for this whole community.”
But the most special part of the Food Network recognition is keeping it in the family.
“It’s nice for me to continue this legacy on from my father,” Filomena said.
Fernando Riccioni has pride for his business, too.
He said simply: “There’s nothing I can’t do.”