The first pizzeria Anthony Badamo ever set foot in is now his own.
The twenty-something grew up South Hills, chowing down at the Caruso family's pizzeria on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.
Badamo had been planning on opening his own pizza and sandwich shop for some time, but always imagined it in the city--in Lawrenceville, or the Mexican War Streets. But when Caruso's shut down, Badamo knew he couldn't pass up the opportunity to be in the heart of Mt. Lebanon's walkable Uptown business district. Badamo opened A'Pizza Badamo last month in that spot at 656 Washington Rd., not far from his father's salon, Bill Badamo's Hair Styling Studio.
Before opening A'Pizza Badamo, Badamo worked in sales for seven years for Cricket Wireless, and spent many years as a lead singer of staple Pittsburgh band Black Tie Revue. But after deciding he wanted to get back into the "pizza game" (a part-time occupation of his youth), Badamo started also working at That's Amore pizzeria right by Remedy Restaurant and Lounge in Lawrenceville. He was pulling 65-hour weeks, but it paid off. In addition to starting his own small business, Badamo also recently became a homeowner--in September he took advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and bought a fixer-upper in Lawrenceville.
Badamo says the key to A'Pizza Badamo is freshness, and family. As for freshness, the dough is made daily, and baked off the peel, which gives the chewy crust a nice crispness. Cheeses come from Penn Mac and meats from Parma Sausage in the Strip. Nothing is fried (the chicken and eggplant are baked, and the tomato, basil and mozzarella Caprese sandwich is a big seller); and salads come with mixed greens rather than dull iceberg. And family? Badamo's mother Lynn helps out at the shop and serves as chief soup-maker, and come spring, tomatoes will come straight from Badamo's grandfather's garden on the North Side.
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Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Anthony Badamo, A'Pizza Badamo
Photograph copyright Caralyn Green