As you walk into Paisan’s Pizzeria, you’re immediately hit by an aroma of spices, and it’s all in the sauce. But co-owner Brian Cappabianca won’t tell you any specifics — the top-secret recipe at the new Tallmadge pizza joint was passed down from his grandmother in Naples, Italy.
“I just learned the recipe, and I think maybe five other people on earth know it,” he said. “But that’s why our place is different. Everything at Paisan’s is homemade, and we are excited to share it with people.”
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Cappabianca and his cousin Chris Sparks said they decided to open the business, located at 18 Tallmadge Circle, together because they wanted to be their own bosses.
“Our family always said that even though we’re cousins, we’re more like brothers,” Sparks said. “We just click. It was an easy decision to go into business together.”
He added that they decided on opening a pizza shop because they knew the business well, having worked at Papa John’s together while attending The University of Akron in the early 2000s. Cappabianca also said they researched and saw that take-out restaurants such as pizza shops were viable businesses.
“Through COVID, everyone was ordering out or doing delivery — and that’s still going to happen after,” Cappabianca said. “We weren’t nervous about opening the place during what we consider the tail end of the pandemic. We’ve probably made 2,500 pizzas since we opened.”
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With the pizzeria opening for business in early March, Sparks said the menu’s most popular items have been the Pepperoni Trio pizza, Paisan’s Potato Puffs and wings with a side of “Sparks Sauce.”
“My sister created the sauce,” Sparks said. “It has a bit of a kick — but nothing too bad. It’s really good with the potato puffs, which are like adult-sized tater tots. They rock.”
He added that the restaurant offers a number of specials including Two-for-Tuesday where patrons who buy a large specialty pizza get a free medium cheese pizza.
Paisan’s Pizzeria celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, May 5.
Cappabianca said he and Sparks are excited to bring an authentic pizza restaurant to Tallmadge, and they hope to give back to the community.
“It’s hard competing with the bigger pizza chains,” he said. “But our place is different. And we really appreciate the city welcoming us. Business has been overwhelming, but in a good way.”
Reporter Molly Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org