Restaurant Spotlight sponsored by Rizzi's Pizzeria

By Steven Arnold
Beacon Journal Advertising Writer

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Beacon’s Best 2013 reminds us of the commitment to those places that have a rich history in the Greater Akron Area that consistently excel in the provision of goods and services in such a way that we, as consumers feel their commitment should be both recognized and rewarded.  As a child growing up in Copley there was one place in our then small community serving as a hub of rich family history, delicious and unique Italian dining, and a gathering place for family meals over a delicious Real Italian Pizza—Rizzi’s Pizzeria and Ristorante!  In a spotlight, Ohio Magazine referenced the delectable pizza as being so good that “you won’t leave the ends of this crust!”  Additionally, Rizzi’s sponsored several of my own athletic teams as a child as with others, and has continued this tradition for more than 50 years locally.  Often, they have even provided free ice cream to sporting teams following games.  

Beside the pizza, my other favorite is Italian Fried Chicken®.  It is so good that it is registered!  One visit to Rizzi’s and you will surely be hard pressed to find this style or abundance of crispy, juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken anywhere!  Many of my classmates that have moved from the area lament on social media their craving for Rizzi’s registered Italian Fried Chicken®, as I smirk at the thought of it’s accessibility to any of my own personal cravings 7 days a week!  I even know the number “by heart,” as it is the same as when I was a child. It’s almost like a little jingle—330-666-1221, although I have to date myself and confess—there were no area codes back then.

Any meal at Rizzi’s would certainly be incomplete without an order of “those potatoes.” The name derives from around the time Joe Rizzi Sr. opened the family’s first location in 1962 at Fairlawn Plaza.  As patrons attempted to describe the potatoes that progressed to more commonly today known as “jojo’s,” they were unsure exactly what to call them as a result of their exceptional composition, so customers would just ask for an order of “those potatoes!” The Rizzi family then adopted the name formally to its list of menu items. In the mid ‘70’s Rizzi’s opened a second location at the intersection of Jacoby and Copley Rd. which became known as Rizzi’s “Other Place” as a result of customers requesting certain grilled menu items which could only be made at the “other place.” It was the only Rizzi’s location with a grill. Also, anyone that has grown up in or lived in Copley is certainly familiar with Rizzi’s famous soft serve ice cream cones, sundaes, and milkshakes which are always a staple following athletic events as a reward for a job well done!

In its 51st year locally, Rizzi’s Pizzeria and Ristorante still serves the same delicious menu items it has become locally famous for, as well as a terrific dine-in and carryout service experience.  At Rizzi’s there is a tradition and continuity of freshness; everything is made fresh daily!  The secret to this rare find that has our community enamored with Rizzi’s lies within its rich history beginning in 1875 -- that's 1875!  Tradition is a major ingredient in Rizzi recipes, which has led to over 100 years of delicious Italian family cooking and baking.  The basis for many of the dishes being served today originated four generations ago in Agazzano, Northern Italy, where the Rizzi family first began operating a bakery in 1875.  Here they became widely known for their mouth-watering Italian and French bread.

At the turn of the century, two branches of the family came to the United States and settled in New York City.  One continued the family bakery business in Brooklyn, eventually acquiring its own delivery trucks, while the other opened a restaurant in Manhattan in 1902.  Together, they compiled a rich heritage of cooking and baking skills.  Today, the tradition continues as the Rizzi’s prepare and serve the same family recipes that have pleased generation upon generation.

Originally known as Rizzi’s To Go Shop in the 60’s, they have grown to a full-service restaurant where you can dine-in, carryout, or order through their Roadrunner delivery service, the made-to-order to go service.  The business has grown requiring a fleet of seven delivery cars servicing Copley, Fairlwn, Bath, Montrose, and West Akron.  Year after year, consistency has been the focus of Joseph Rizzi Jr.  Real Italian Pizza and Italian Fried Chicken® is what was put out in the 1960’s.  Today, you can order the same Real Italian Pizza and Italian Fried Chicken®.  In fact, if you could be transported back in time, you could see why Rizzi’s is entering its 51st year.  There is this consistent output of delicious, high quality, Italian fare that has been the norm.  Rizzi’s boasts of the best pizza, chicken, pasta, and salads that can be purchased in Greater Akron.  Clearly, people have enjoyed Rizzi’s food for decades upon decades!  When it comes to tradition, there is nobody that takes more pride in that than Joe Rizzi Jr.  The continuance of tradition and philosophy is entrenched in every aspect of this historical business all the way to the original logo bearing “Rizzi’s To Go Shop” still being used today!

The Rizzi’s uniquely good pizza begins with the original dough recipe.  Many believe this is the secret to pizza so good there is rarely a bite of crust leftover.  Wonderful pastries, breads, pasta sauces, traditional dishes are carefully prepared with the finest fresh ingredients from the family’s collection of authentic recipes.  At the 50th anniversary party this past November, Owner, Joe Rizzi Jr. proudly gave away free pizza, “those potatoes,” and ice cream as a token of appreciation to the community for their support over the years.  Now, it’s our turn to give back to Rizzi’s Pizza for all of their years of excellent service, fine dining, and stellar corporate citizenship to the tens of thousands of young people—including myself that they have served as a positive example for.  Vote for Rizzi’s Pizza and Ristorante in 2013 Beacon’s Best!  

Continuing a tradition Akronites’ have known since 1962 is just a phone call away 330.666.1221—there’s that jingle again!  If you haven’t already, start your own tradition and join the legions of loyal customers that say, “let’s have Rizzi’s!” Dine-in, carryout, and delivery service is available 7 days a week Sunday-Thursday from 11am-11pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am-12am. Mangia bene!  Enjoy your next meal at Rizzi’s where you can taste the flavor of Northern Italy in every bite.

Rizzi’s Pizza and Ristorante
2809 Copley Rd.
Copley, OH 44321

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