In 1950 Pizza John’s founder, John Coruzzi, had just arrived in America from his hometown of Abruzzi, Italy. At the young age of 16 he took on his first job as a baker in East Baltimore. For the next 50 years his hard work and dedication would result in owning/operating a successful Italian restaurant and becoming a well-respected figure in the community. For those of you who have grown up in the Essex area, or for those of you new to Pizza John’s, let us take you on a stroll down memory lane by revisiting Pizza John’s from past to present.
After a 10 year stint as a pizza-maker with Squire’s Cafe in Dundalk, John decided to live out the American Dream and go into business for himself. Without anyone by his side, John opened the original Pizza John’s Carry Out establishment at 131 1/2 Back River Neck Road in 1966 — a place many present day customers still recall today.
Three months later, the first of John’s two brothers, Peter, would come from Italy to be with him in running this newly founded business. After only a year, the duo became a trio as the third brother, Anthony, followed suit.
The next 10 years were kind to the Coruzzi brothers. Pizza John’s was doing well and the number of people that the business employed had grown to 18. It was at this time that the brothers also decided that their current location was no longer adequate in meeting their needs.
In 1977 John, Peter and Anthony said good bye to the 600-square foot location and said hello to their new 2,500-square foot facility — located just down the street at 113 Back River Neck Road. Although the business was still limited to carry out, the number of customers began to grow, allowing Pizza John’s to expand its menu to include new items. This prompted the brothers to make their next move.
In 1981 the first dining room, which consisted of 80 seats, was built. For the first time customers could enjoy their meal dining in. And several years later, the brothers decided to once again expand as they added a greenhouse to the existing facade. This 44 seat addition brought the total seating area to 124 seats.
Up through the 1990s, Pizza John’s would undergo a number of expansions and remodeling phases to better serve customers. Additional kitchen and food prep areas and expanded counter space were just two of the many improvements the business would undergo.
In 2003, the latest and most drastic improvements to Pizza John’s were made since the brothers moved in 1977. An overhaul of the exterior with lush landscaping complimented an expanded dining room, counter space and parking lot.
In 2004 Pizza John’s completed its fifth expansion, adding more than 100 additional seats, an ice cream bar and expanded parking while totally renovating the interior and exterior of the restaurant.
Then in 2012, we expanded once more to add an additional 100 seats, to a total seating capacity of over 300 today. Presently, Pizza John’s now seats customers in five separate dining rooms, complete with a fire place and numerous flat screen televisions.
Since opening in 1966, Pizza John’s strives to meet customer demand, while focusing on serving quality products that people have come to expect. What is in the future for Pizza John’s? Only time will tell.