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Mar 3, 2009 05:06 PM

What's going on with Rizzo's Pizza in Glenside?

It has been far too long since I've had a slice of Rizzo's pizza. Does anyone know what's going on there? It's been closed for about half a year now. I've heard rumors of significant renovation and previous owners buying it back, but I'm not really sure what to believe. Is it closed forever? SOMEONE please tell me what the hells going on.

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  1. I, too, heard that an original family member was repurchasing the restaurant, but that was six months ago. I honestly don't know. But sometimes memories are best left alone.

    As a Glensidian of the 50s, I grew up on Rizzo's pizza and spaghetti. I remember it well from early childhood before the renovation into its present state when there were just dingy tan walls and high ceilings with rotating fans. Fortunately, once the renovations had been completed (1957?) and the balcony dining room installed ,they had kept the pizza pick-up window next to the kitchen stairs where you could look down and watch. And, it was air conditioned - a rare treat for summer dining in those days.

    The late 50s and all of the 60s were my Rizzo years. We'd go as a family for the great spaghetti and meat balls with the Amoroso's sour dough rolls and the freshly grated Locatelli romano. Or, we'd share the large pizza with everything - the most expensive pie on the menu for a whopping $4.95. There were great milkshakes and ice cream sodas, too. And, they always kept the juke box up-to-date with three plays for a quarter. I believe Rizzo's to be the first place I ever heard "Mack the Knife."

    After my mom died in 1994, we took my dad there for a bit of nostalgia. We learned then that it had changed hands although the new owners had purchased the name as well. No more ice cream sodas or shakes. The sourdough bread and romano had been replaced with lower grade substitutes and the spaghetti sauce (um....sorry, gravy) tasted like it came out of a jar. We left most disappointed and never returned.

    Yes, some memories are best left alone. But maybe if a real Rizzo takes the helm....!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      What a poignant post Chefpaulo! Luckily for me my beloved Delorenzo's in Trenton is still amazingly intact. So who was the artist you heard singing Mack the Knife? It was my mom's favorite song.

      1. re: givemecarbs

        Had to Bobby Darin doing Mack the Knife!!!

        1. re: bucksguy14

          Not strictly related, but a fun fact: Paul Rizzo, one of the two owners of Crossroads Bake Shop in Doylestown, is son-of-Rizzo (or son of one-of-the-Rizzos) from Rizzo's Pizza.

          1. re: bucksguy14

            No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Covers ears firmly. Had to be Louis Armstrong!!!! We await your answer Chefpaulo, because we hounds know that there is more to eating than food. Like the music that is playing while we eat. Chowhound to chefpaulo come in please? Did our boy do something rash? :)

            1. re: givemecarbs

              Sorry, oh Carbocraving One. The tune we first heard at Rizzo's was the Bobby Darin version. Louis released his three years before. Check out the Wikipedia history of the song. It has an amazing popular recording history from its 1920's operatic origins.

              Other firsts or "gotta hear 'em" hits at Rizzo's jukebox of that era were: The Lion Sleeps Tonight (The Tokens), Washington Square (The Village Stompers), The Witch Doctor (David Seville), The Christmas Song (D. Seville and the Chipmunks), Midnight in Moscow (Kenny Ball), Beep Beep (The Playmates), Tequila (The Champs), Yakety Yak (The Coasters), The Battle of New Orleans, (Johhny Horton), Stagger Lee (Lloyd Price), Charlie Brown (The Coasters), Manhattan Spiritual (Reg Owen), Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (Brian Hyland), Mr. Custer (Larry Verne), The Boll Weevil Song ((Brook Benton), Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight (Lonnie Donagan), Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)The Stripper (David Rose) ....and about a hundred others all good for munching pizza with the works by. (Note that, as a family, we mostly went for the novelty songs.)

              1. re: Chefpaulo

                Thanks for ending the suspense Chefpaulo. I'm going to crawl off into a corner to cry a bit but I'll be back.

      2. I went to Rizzo's at 9PM on a Friday or Saturday night about a year ago. I walk in and the guy at the counter says "sorry we're closed". I look at the glass front door and it states "Closed: 10PM". So I point it out to the guy and he just shrugged.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chinon00

          Heh chinonoo that has happened to me at so many area places, Lansdale Style Pizza, El Cactus, the thai place in bluebell near the pepperidge farm outlet. Pretty sure it happens all over but it does get annoying. Oh and it happens at Pudge's so often that it is more or less expected that they close half an hour to an hour early. Shrug.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            Another side note: lots of restaurants close before the posted closing time IF it's reallly dead and noone's been in for a long time. Been on both sides of that one.

            1. re: watercress

              Yeah there was a thread about that fairly recently where I asked my fellow hounds for advice and thoughts. I've been on both sides of that also. I love to patronize small businesses and avoid chains, but rarely will the chains close an hour early. On the other hand some of them should close down permanently. :)

        2. I'm only 21, but I'd been going there all my life. I know the service wasn't as good as it used to be, but still that was some damn good pizza.


            I Guess it's closed forever. Thats a shame. Apparently the new place is an italian restaurant named Amici, which happens to be the least original name for an Italian restaurant ever. If the food's still italian, I don't know why they wouldn't just keep the Rizzo's name.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TatoBins

              "If the food's still italian, I don't know why they wouldn't just keep the Rizzo's name."

              Brand new theme and direction I guess. If they are going to be a "restaurant" and not eat-in/ take-out pizzeria, it makes sense.

            2. The original comment has been removed