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The new owners of Pizza Villa are the old school Portland restaurant services

The new owners of Pizza Villa are the old school Portland restaurant services

The Minervino family reopens Pizza Villa in Portland. From the left, Sam Minervino, his nephew Marcus and brother Rob. Photograph by Derek Davis

Sam and Rob Minervino took a break of their afternoon undertaking, restarting Pizza Villa, a 54-year-old restaurant that they had just lately bought from old associates.

Although the Minervino Brothers are making an attempt to maintain the modifications to a minimal, there was nonetheless much to do. The reopening was scheduled to happen in 4 days, and the restaurant bar, on the other hand, seemed even inside a messy vintage. Tools, old indicators and different collectibles crammed the tables. Bartender Doug Johnson, who has been working at Pizza Villa for over 20 years, has put a bar, a freshly oiled, hand-carved oak-back beam from the late 19th century.

together with a couple of key updates, was necessary, nevertheless it was also a place where Portlanders' generations have introduced their family and friends to reasonably priced meals and collectively. For 40 years, the members of the Minervino family have both labored or owned shares in 4 native restaurants, most of which have bars and all the similar objectives – a place that’s welcomed commonly, a place where individuals in working class really feel snug.

At a time when the worth of some advantageous eating in the Portland restaurant is almost $ 40, Minervinos' strategy is an old school. They are not cooks who are simply on the lookout for the right place to open their excessive concept. They are not on the lookout for rewards or recognition in the nationwide media. They are waiting for the proper opportunity and then take it. It is a sensible method to earn a dwelling, nevertheless it has clearly acquired its blood.

Minervinot will not be as properly generally known as some of the Portland restaurant services, but their roots run deep – their families moved to Portland from Italy in the early 1900s. Pizza Villa, which reopened on 25 March, the Minervino brothers and two Sam's youngsters, Tom and Meg, owned Tomaso's diner in the Old Port, and Rob's son Marcus has been working there. Sam owns Samuel's Bar & Grill Forest Avenue, the place Rob is deputy director. Siblings Tom and Meg are companions at Legends Rest Tap Rome in Westbrook and wish to open another restaurant in Portland during the yr.

Meg Minervino, 33, had been designed to be a physiotherapist, not a nutritionist. He all the time liked to assist his father, but "grow you want to be your own", he stated. Simply when he had a job in his area, his father would call and ask for assist in his eating places.

"I assume that if you call it, it's your calling," he stated.


The first restaurant of the Minervino family, opened in the 1970s by Sam and Rob's mother and father, Tom and Dodie Minervino, have been at the Ye Olde Pancake Store 617 Congress Middle, later residence at Norm's Bar & Grill and now Congress Bar & Grill. (Tom and Dodie Minervino are now dwelling in Florida.) Rob Minervino, just 12 at that time, was a dishwasher and busboy in the restaurant. Dodie ran a spot where breakfast and lunch have been served, "all of the poultry meat for beef", Sam Minervino reminded.

"I learned a lot about cooking from the old retired Marine kokkista, who was able to make the taste of shoe favor" he stated. "We possessed it for a short period, but it got us into the restaurant business."

Sam Minervino dealt with most of the cooking Sam & # 39; s Harbor Lunch on Portland Seashore, closed in February 1988. Personnel picture John Ewing

Sam Minervino ran from 1981 to 1988 to Sam's harbor on the seashore, a relaxed breakfast and lunch place where fishermen and different seashore staff arrived at 4pm to seize a cup of espresso and chew before you go in. Rob, simply out of school, joined him. Becky Rand, now often known as Becky Diner's owner, labored there. , and we might make that money, ”Sam Minervino stated.” And it was additionally a great Italian pa It was back before the seashore had all the nice foo-foo spots. You needed to do one thing to draw individuals to return down. As we speak, of course, you’ll be able to charge $ 10.99, and other people still assume they get so much of trade. ”

Sam and his spouse started their family in these years. Tom was the eldest, born in 1982. Daughter Jodie and Meg got here in 1984 and 1986. (Jodie is now the mom of two youngsters and married lobster.) Sam Minervino thought-about it a practical option to grow his family.

“We were lucky because we had a lot of good effects from the old schools like Tony DiMillon,” he stated. "And remember Jimmy Lanon's Lano's restaurant in South Portland?" " said there was a "restaurant legend again" in the 60s and early 70s. "

" He had come in a few grocery bags and would say that I will make you a lunch offer today, Sam "Sam Minervino reminded me."

The lunch at Sam's port was thrown off the seashore in 1988 after it was indifferent to permit for a new workplace and retail complicated. permit solely the improvement of the sea. (The office constructing sailed because it was accredited before the referendum). Get up and watch while the flats have been inbuilt Portland in the harbor and Becky's permission to open, but Sam Minervino has no regrets and no delusions; he says he might not afford to lease on a business road.

And he would in all probability not have the ability to receive 50 cent hen wings or supply pizzas at half worth at 11.00. at 19.00

“We are trying to keep affordable for our people,” he stated. “We would like the locals. If I had a place there, I might cost 10 bucks for a Miller Lite canteen at lunchtime as an alternative of 99 cents.


Tom Minervino, now 37, was only 6 years old when Sam's Harbor Lunch was closed, but he has reminiscences of a seashore place the place he helped butter Italian bread before he went to the grill .

"I was pleased to go with my dad in the morning 4 and my mother would have come to pick me up at 9 am," he stated.

When the bar and restaurant moved to Forest Avenue, Tom washed the dishes from 10 to 14 years old. Her sister Meg used every morning whereas she was in a kindergarten. She helped pizza and meatballs. Meg Minervino reminds me amused that the first words he discovered to spell have been the phrases of Guinness, Harp and Lite, which he saw in the big mirrors above the bar.

Neither of the sisters had meant to comply with his father's footsteps. Tom Minervino studied politics and journalism, then worked as an athlete with a couple of small Maine newspapers and freelance writers. Meg Minervino studied Spanish and well being and train, then moved to Atlanta, where he turned a personal trainer. When he grew up with a family household and moved again to Maine, his father stated he might actually use him in Samuel, so he started taking care of the bar there and dominated him.

Siblings Tom and Meg Minervino at Legends Relaxation Taproom they opened in Westbrook last yr. Personnel picture Ben McCannan

4 years in the past, when the city refused to renew the old port's Sangillon tavern wine license, Minervinos rented a place and renamed it as Tomaso's Canteen. Sam Minervino typically used Sangillo himself, and when he threatened to shut, he even wrote letters to the journalist, arguing that he would hold it open. He liked area and other people working there.

"My father's friend owns this building," he stated, "and I had told him years ago," if this place comes once more for lease, please let me know as a result of I'd like to open the place here. ””

Minervinot spent $ 125,000 on a place to install a kitchen based on Sam Minervino. Nothing had touched 25–30 years, he stated, and the repairs helped him to set his own postage stamp after Sangillo's popularity. He asked his daughter to be a pacesetter.

"It just seemed natural," Meg Minervino stated. "It seemed to be the right thing."

If the young Minervino brothers had looked at Tony DiMillo and Jimmy Lano, it was now their turn to be old school pals.

We have been an old school and the youngsters knew what was hip and occurring, ”Sam Minervino stated. "At the beginning, when we got together, I was a little resistant."

Meg Minervino stated there have been only 4 sketch strains at Tomaso's core, and he and his brother needed to use them to emphasize some youthful clients somewhat. His father stated he needed to be loyal to a long-term distributor. Forwards and backwards he finally gave his youngsters.

"I just decided to go with it," Sam Minervino stated. "If it doesn't work, we'll change it, but we'll go to what they say."

When the Sangillos dive bar at Portland closed, Minverinos opened Tomaso's canteen as an alternative. Picture of employees: Gregory Rec

Tomaso's menu consists of hamburgers and pink canine, but in addition fashionable Brussels sprouts, snacks, seven macros and cheeses and Italian sausages. Whereas most Portland restaurants have $ 12-14 cocktails, Tomaso's blending drinks are still underneath $ 10.

Two years later, when Tomaso appeared to work nicely, Meg and Tom Minervino decided to go into enterprise collectively. Meg lived in Westbrook and Tom lived there, in order that they started in search of area. They discovered an old Pilates studio that had been on the marketplace for some time but had snug picket floors and excessive ceilings.

“It was hidden a bit, but it had a lot of characters, and it was affordable,” Tom Minervino stated, “so we thought it might be a very good match. “

There, they opened Legends Relaxation, with one draft line for Budweiser and the relaxation of the craftsmen. The Brother-and-sister workforce now has one other concept for the Portland Quick Meals restaurant – perhaps burritos.


Tom Minervino says he has acquired quite a bit from his father, together with its arduous work and find out how to treat clients. "He wanted people to feel comfortable in their places, and he treated people really well," he stated. "There is nothing he has not seen over the years, so when questions between clients and employees come up – you wouldn't believe in some events – he's the first one to see how to deal with it." 19659003] When the Regios brothers decided that they have been able to sell Pizza Villa, they referred to as Sam Minervino, who instantly referred to as his brother Rob to see if he was keen on collaborating with him. (Each have been bizarre in the restaurant. Rob is partly a garlic hen pizza jalapeno.)

"He didn't even stop punishing," Rob Minervino stated. "He goes," Hey, Phil regios referred to as me and needed to know if we need to export the Villa, and stated: "I'm in."

John More durable and his mother Helen More durable, both from Portland Take pleasure in a pepperoni pizza at the Pizza Villa Lodge when talking with a new proprietor Rob Minervino. Picture of a picture Derek Davis

Why do yet one more venture, especially when there’s far more competition at the Portland restaurant at the moment? Sam Minervino says he's not frightened about the competitors.

“We're just trying to take care of ourselves and try to do things to draw customers,” he stated. “I'm making an attempt to make it a place we'd wish to go, a spot where individuals can hang around and know individuals. It gained't value you $ 27 for cheeseburgers and $ 15 for a glass of beer. "

Virtually each Pizza Villa employees agreed to stay – the one who makes Robin smile. "Now that people come, they'll see the same face," he stated.

The repairs included a new roof in the kitchen and eating area, the controls needed for HVAC and electrical installations, and much of paint. The mud that has not been reached for many years was lastly wiped out. Rob Minervino and his son, Marcus, who dominate the place, purchased old churches and minimize them to take a seat in a nook, creating the restaurant's first group place.

”Rob Minervino stated. Minervinos' VIP concept is one of the men's hockey teams sponsored by Regios brothers once they come to eat after the recreation.

The concept, Rob stated, is to make the place "a little spark, but in the same place." You understand how individuals don't like change. We attempt to not change something ”. provided help for cooking or in any other case, what is required in the early days of the transition. here's a superb factor ain rinses hubcaps. ”

Meredith Goad may be contacted at 791-6332 or at

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

Regular patrons share a toast at Pizza Villa Lodge after Portland reopening new owners 25. March. Profile: Derek Davis



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