Boardman Wedgewood marks 20 years in business
By Jordyn Grzelewski
Jim Hardie of Poland first tasted Boardman Wedgewood’s pizza in 1995 at the shop’s grand opening.
Since then, Hardie has been a loyal customer at the South Avenue store, saying he doesn’t order pies from anywhere else.
“The pizza is the best,” he said, adding that his favorite is the white pizza with broccoli and cheese.
He’s on a first-name basis with store owner Anthony Pellegrini.
Pellegrini, who celebrated his store’s 20th anniversary this month, says that kind of relationship with customers is key to his success.
“We take pride in what we do here, and we treat our customers the right way,” he said. “As long as the customers leave and we give them a good product, I feel good about what we do here.”
Another key ingredient? The dough.
“Our dough, and our sauce. They’re made fresh every day. I’m here at 6:30 a.m. every day starting the dough. It’s very important,” Pellegrini said. “To really judge a pizza, to me, it would be just sauce and dough — plain pizza.”
Wedgewood’s signature pizza doesn’t have many toppings — just sauce, green peppers, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
Pellegrini, of Milton Township, opened the shop after working for his uncle, Fernando Riccioni, at the Austintown shop starting in 1979.
The original Wedgewood Pizza, started by Pasquate “Patsy” Acconcia, opened in 1967. Today it’s a franchise with locations in Austintown, Boardman, Salem, Howland and Grove City, Ohio.
Fernando, 84, still runs the Austintown branch. Pellegrini’s wife, Pauline, runs the Boardman restaurant with him, and their kids all have worked there.
“Having family here is very important,” Pellegrini said.
After 20 years, Pellegrini said most things have stayed the same. Many of the store’s 22 employees, for example, have been with him since the beginning. He’s never done much advertising, instead relying on word-of-mouth.
A few things, however, have changed.
The restaurant started selling beer and wine a few weeks ago. The business also relies more on social media.
The Boardman store, for example, will give away a pizza once a week to an Instagram follower who tags the store in a post on the phone application.
Pellegrini said he hopes the restaurant will remain a staple for Valley residents for years to come.
“We hope to serve the Boardman community for the next 20 years and maintain the high standards we have kept in the first 20,” he said.