Food celebrity Tony Gemignani celebrates Belmont pizzeria opening | Local News

Renowned pizza restaurateur Tony Gemignani and the Belmont City Council celebrated the opening of his newest restaurant, Slice House by Tony Gemignani, at Belmont Village in front of fans and patrons Thursday.

“It’s great to see a small town be so busy,” Gemignani said.

Located at 1000 El Camino Real, the casual dining spot offers New York, Sicilian, Grandma, Detroit and California-style pizzas and opened in December.

Gemignani is a world-famous food entrepreneur with awards from around the world for his pizza-making and throwing abilities. Originally from Fremont, he started working at his brother’s pizzeria in the 1990s and has since become a successful restaurant and business owner. He gained notoriety as a world pizza-throwing champion and 2007 World Champion Pizza Maker at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, where he was the first American and non-Neapolitan victor, among other titles. He has written cookbooks and children’s books about his exploits and got into the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the largest pizza.

Following his rise to notoriety and appearances on several television food networks, he opened Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in 2009. He now has close to two dozen restaurants around the country, including several in Northern California, including locations in Sacramento, at San Francisco’s Oracle Park and Walnut Creek. The success of his previous restaurants led to people from the Peninsula clamoring for a location closer than San Francisco and the East Bay.

“Now people don’t have to drive that extra 45 minutes to an hour to get to North Beach,” Gemignani said.

The day-to-day operators are from Burlingame and convinced Gemignani the Belmont area would be a success while scouting for new locations on the Peninsula. Gemignani said the first few months have been busy and smooth despite little marketing and opening during a pandemic. Gemignani liked its proximity to popular amenities like Starbucks, which will help drive foot traffic and major throughways like El Camino Real and Ralston Avenue. He also thought the small-town feel and lots of parking would allow it to be a central downtown hub for people shopping and hanging out in the area.

“I think it was time for sure [to bring it here,]”Gemignani said.

Rather than just doing one pizza style like Chicago, it offers five to six options, including lesser-known options like Sicilian and Detroit, which are not as easily available in other places. Customers tried several different pizza styles during the pandemic, with more people buying different varieties they saw on social media. The restaurant, open Wednesday through Monday from 11 am to 9 pm, also offers non-pizza options like calzones, strombolis, paninis, pasta, seasonal salads and desserts.

“If you have a concept with multiple styles in it, you have choices, and people want choices now. It’s a little place, but it does great volume, and people like the options, ”Gemignani said.

Gemignani noted people have been welcoming and friendly since the restaurant’s opening, with many coming up to introduce themselves to him. The April 28 ceremony gave fans, students, business and city representatives, and members of the public a chance to come and meet Gemignani and celebrate his restaurant’s opening. Members from the Belmont City Council attended the ceremony, including Mayor Julia Mates, Vice Mayor Tom McCune and Councilmember Charles Stone.

“We want to welcome you to Belmont and the community,” Mates said. “It’s really elevated our pizza game.”

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