Mt. Lebanon-based pizzeria with Northside roots opens up second location in Allegheny City Central.
By: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
For most people pizza is just a Friday night dinner option, for 35-year-old Anthony Badamo pizza is a way of life.
Nearly a decade ago he left the security of a job in sales and turned what was once a part-time passion into the popular Mt. Lebanon-based Badamo’s Pizza. Over the years the laid back New York-style pizzeria has established itself as a Pittsburgh favorite, finding a place on a number of ‘Best Pizza’ lists. After building a loyal customer base and city-wide recognition, Badamo’s Pizza headed to Federal Street.
The birth of the new Northside location started on a drive. One day while going to pick up his grandfather, a Fineview resident, Badamo noticed a ‘for rent’ sign in the window of what was once Pasta Too.
“I was familiar with the space that was there before and I knew the family that owned it. I told them in the past that whenever it [Pasta Too] went down I wanted a crack at it,” said Badamo. “My dad’s side of the family is from here so we’re familiar with the Northside.”
After six months of negotiations and an additional year of construction, Badamo finally opened his new Northside location in December of last year.
Badomo’s Pizza seems to pride itself on being a place that turns their customers into friends and sometimes friends into employees. That was the case for Elaina Taube, who was a longtime customer before she saw herself operating behind the counter, selling pizzas rather than ordering them.
“I really liked all the people who worked there. I liked going there after school when I was a kid and I loved the food. I just loved hanging out there and talking to everyone there,” the 21-year-old Tabue said.
Like Badamo, Taube is a South Hills native but made the move to the Northside to be closer to the business. For her, the best part of the job is the people.
“I like seeing people’s response to it. Feeding a lot of people and making a lot of people happy. People see us as friends who also sell them pizza,” said Tabue.
Mt. Lebanon branch manager, Herbie Tubbs also had an unusual path into the Badamo’s Pizza famiglia. Tubbs met Badamo in a record shop when they were teenagers and the two established a kinship for records and pizza.
“I’ve made pizza my whole life and I got to realize pizza was my passion,” said Tubbs.
The pair had fallen out of touch and reconnected in 2010 at the Mt. Lebanon location.
“When I opened the pizza shop I had like one or two other employees and I hadn’t had a night off in a while,” recalled Badamo. “I ran into him [Tubbs] and I was like, ‘tell me you’re still making pizza.’”
Tubbs had worked for a number of pizza shops over the years prior, but he’s been with Badamo ever since. He’s enjoyed watching both locations grow and credits the pizzeria’s popularity to the staff’s genuine love of pizza. He may be right as so far the pizzeria has been able to win over pizza enthusiast and New Jersey native Christine Asprea.
“Finding a good New York-style pizza was crucial when I moved out to the ‘Burgh last summer. Unfortunately, I hadn’t found what I was looking for until Badamo’s opened up,” Asprea said.” Their pizza is insanely good, with quality, fresh ingredients. A true crispy New York-style pizza … I’ve eaten here more times than I’d like to admit since the opening, but they are just that good. They are pretty much my new obsession.”
The fresh quality of food is something Badamo’s Pizza prides itself on. Anthony Badamo reported that many of their “top of the line” ingredients come from Italy. Their homemade calzones and ranch dressing are one of many aspects of the pizzeria that stands out to customers. With so many businesses in the area what Anthony Badamo feels the new location has going for it is familiarity, affordability, and it’s high quality of food and service.
“We’re that familiar spot, that corner spot. The doors are always open and we’re here to serve the community. That’s what it’s all about for us,” said Badamo.
Badamo’s Pizza is located at 1106 Federal Street and is open Tuesday thru Thursday at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday at 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Badamo’s is pick-up and dine-in only, call at (412) 231-1001.