Conicella’s Pizza is a Greenfield institution
The first day Conicella’s Pizza shop in Greenfield was open for business, the owners ran out of dough, the second day, sauce, and the third, buns.
“We weren’t sure what kind of business we would do, and we hadn’t owned a pizza shop before,” says Carmine Conicella, co-owner with brother Vince. “We didn’t do any advertising and only had a small, hand-written sign out front. But, somehow, people knew we were here.”
They still know, almost 29 years later. And the brothers are more experienced when it comes to ordering supplies.
“We can do it without thinking, now,” Carmine says. “The more you do this business, the more you understand what you need every day. It’s been a fun neighborhood business for us. We enjoy seeing the customers, many who live in the neighborhood where we grew up.”
The Conicella family, originally from Oakland, moved to Greenfield in 1966. They purchased the building on Greenfield Avenue from the Diocese of Pittsburgh in 1982. The original plan was to make it an Italian store, but the sons talked to their father Arky and convinced him at the time that it might not be so successful because of an unstable economy and that a pizza shop would be a better choice.
Turns out they were right.
Conicella’s, which is takeout only, features pizza, hoagies, calzones, salads and pizza bagels. They also have white pizzas. Through the years, they’ve added new items such as chicken breast and chicken parmesan hoagies and steak bagels. A small six-cut cheese pizza is $8 and a 12-cut extra-large plain pie is $11. Choose from 10 toppings. A small white pizza is $9. Calzones are $7.50 and include ham, ricotta cheese, green peppers, onions, pepperoni, pizza sauce and sauce. A chef salad is $3.50. Pizza bagels are $2 and steak bagels are $4. A whole meatball hoagie is $7.50.
Carmine and Vince’s mother, Romilda, still makes the meatballs, and the sauce recipe was passed down from one of their relatives. Their sister Maria is part of the operation as well.
“My mother is the boss when she comes in here,” Carmine says. “She notices things we sometimes don’t notice. When my dad was alive, he would run and get supplies for us. My sister helps out, too. We have other family members working here, too. We are all a part of the business, which you have to be when you have a family-owned operation. It becomes a part of you.”
Having a long-standing local establishment is good for the community, says Bill Smith, executive director of the Greenfield Organization and Greenfield resident.
“I probably eat more with Carmine and Vince than I do with my family,” Smith says. “I usually get the steak hoagie, but I’ve pretty much had everything, and it’s all really good. I like to support businesses like Conicella’s because it is important to have them in the community.”
It all begins with the freshness of the items, Carmine says. The dough, sauce and toppings are made fresh daily and nothing is deep-fried. They go through 60-plus pounds of dough a day.
Fridays are busy, as are the days the Steelers play. They deliver to a limited area.
“We know those times when people don’t want to cook, so we do the cooking for them,” Carmine says. ” A lot of people know our family, so when they drive by and see the sign, they stop in. So, we make sure we have enough of whatever they want. We don’t run out of ingredients any more.”
Location: 422 Greenfield Ave., Greenfield
Hours: 4 p.m. to midnight Mondays to Saturdays; and 3 to 10 p.m. Sundays