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Irondequoit Post
  • Pizza and Proietti family memories

  • Born in 1966, Tony Proietti says his grandfather opened the one-time, well-loved Proietti’s restaurant, on Goodman Street near Norton, when his oldest son — Tony’s father — was getting married.

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  • “I guess you could say I’m the prodigal son,” says Tony Proietti, who’s back in the restaurant business using recipes that have been in his family for more than 45 years.
    Born in 1966, Tony Proietti says his grandfather opened the one-time, well-loved Proietti’s restaurant, on Goodman Street near Norton, when his oldest son — Tony’s father — was getting married.
    “I think he wanted to provide an opportunity to the family ... everyone in the family was such a great cook,” Tony Proietti said. He says he grew up in the business.
    The restaurant thrived for almost 25 years, until it closed in 1990, but it’s still one of those places people reminisce about.
    “I was hesitant to walk in the door,” said recent customer John Cornello of Irondequoit, “but as soon as I saw that Proietti’s name (on T-shirts staff members wear) ... well, having a slice was the real rest. And, I tell ya, this pizza took me right back to Goodman Street. ... It’s the sauce; I remember it; it’s excellent pie ... I’m so glad I came in.”
    Tony isn’t using the family name on the new pizzeria, Two Ton Tony’s, that he opened just before the new year at Titus Mall. That’s out of respect for his uncle, Whitey Proietti, who still operates a Proietti’s Italian restaurant in Webster.
    Staff shirts, however, say: “Two Ton Tony’s ... Continuing the Proietti’s Pizza family tradition.”
    “Plus, as Two Ton Tony’s, it’s my brand and my name,” Tony Proietti said.
    He’s also continuing the family tradition in that he’s brought his daughter, Jessica Weidel of Greece, into business with him.
    “It’s a chance to see my daughter every day,” Tony said. He also has two sons, Tony, 22, and Dakota, 9, and a grandson, Alec (Jessica’s son), who’s almost 1.
    “There is my motivation,” Tony Proietti said with a grin.
    He still fondly recalls his days attending the nearby Annunciation Catholic School and heading with his sister, Teri, to the family restaurant, or his grandparents’ house across the street, for lunch every day. They would sing in the restaurant for tips.
    He grew up on Arbutus Street in Rochester, and has had a varied career as an adult. He worked at the former Genesee Hospital, in advertising; owned a baseball card business; and originally got back in the restaurant business with his first Two Ton Tony’s inside a pub in Fairport.
    “But, once again things changed,” Proietti said, and that first place closed. “But I always had the urge to get back in the business.”
    He does recognize there are about a half-dozen pizzerias within the two blocks neighboring his new place.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’m a believer in quality and that the cream will rise to the top,” Tony said. “I think we make pretty good pizza ... and I’m already seeing faces I haven’t seen in 20 years.”
    The pizza dough is homemade and hand-tossed right in the shop (you can watch). The signature sauce is a special family recipe.
    “And, the difference between me and a lot of places is that I’m the owner and I’m here every day,” Tony Proietti said. “I have pride in our product — and continuing our family legacy.”
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