Franco's Pizzeria Italiana
Franco D'amico was born in Piaggine, Italia in 1931. He was a shoemaker most of his adult life. Coming to the United States in 1963 to find the American Dream, Franco started working at Gammons restuarant which was in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Franco then worked at the Duquesne Club as a dishwasher. In 1964, Franco fell in love with and married Frances Tambellini. He then joined forces with the Tambellini girls (Frances and Mary Tambellini-Pelligrini) to work at Tambellini's restaurant on 7th Street in downtown Pittsburgh. While working at Tambellinis, Franco invented his famous fried Zuccini. His fried Zuccini became so popular, Franco was nicknamed, "The Duke of Zuke!" A fire took the restaurant in 1979, but was rebuilt better than ever, and that's when Franco's popularity exploded! Franco went out on his own in the early 1980's, starting at Alexander Graham Bells and Garden on the Square. Franco had a HUGE following from Tambellinis, and in 1987 Franco opened Bravo Francos in downtown Pittsburgh, located across the street from Heinz Hall. He followed that venture with his long tenure at Franco's Restuarante in Fox Chapel. Getting on in life, Franco retired in 1999 and helped his son Joseph build Franco's Trattoria with a location in Peters Township. Franco is now stepping up once again and helping his daughter Maria and son in law Daniel build Franco's Pizzeria Italiana in Castle Shannon. Maria, an avid cook who learned her trade at her fathers knee, and her husband Daniel "The Passionate Pizza Man" Santoro, opened up Franco's newest adventure FPI - Francos Pizzeria Italiana! FPI will include Francos classic creation, his world famous meatballs! The pizza making will be left to Franco's son in law Daniel, who Franco has been quoted as saying "He maka da besta pizza I ever had!" So if your looking for true Franco food, there is only two places in Pittsburgh where his blood runs through their veins. Franco's Trattoria in Peters Township and Franco's Pizzeria Italiana in Castle Shannon. All the others that have the Franco's name on it, well, they are just want-a-be's.