In 1989, Giuseppe Merone (then age 14) left Naples, Italy for America to stay with family friends who owned a mom and pop pizza shop in Front Royal, VA. He started to work in that family’s shop washing dishes. He moved to the food prep area, then on to the grill, and then to making pizzas – four and a half years later. Giuseppe’s dream was to have his own restaurant, so he left the shop in Front Royal and started working for Tony’s New York Pizza where he worked for another four and a half years and became the store manager. By 1998, Giuseppe had saved a substantial amount of money and decided he was ready for his own restaurant. His boss was very impressed with Giuseppe as he had grown the business and made it profitable. He offered to help Giuseppe find a place, buy it and open it for him. They opened Buon Appetito in Chantilly. After six months, Giuseppe’s previous boss sold the business to Giuseppe. Giuseppe brought three of his younger brothers – Luciano, Antonio, and Fortunato -- to America and they worked with him in the Chantilly restaurant. In just three years the business had grown to $1 million in sales, they were making great food and people loved them! They had a line outside the door every Friday and Saturday. On Fridays between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00p.m. they were making between 300 and 350 pizzas! Giuseppe bought a van, put the name and phone number on the side, and started catering. When he started catering, he was the only pizzeria around that was doing it. In 2004 he came to SterA Merone’s Catering dessert tray.
ling, Virginia and bought his second location. He needed to expand to continue growing the catering side of the business. Giuseppe designed the kitchen himself to be just the way he wanted it, and in 2006 the Sterling location opened with a small dine-in area up front and catering out the back! In 2007, Merone’s Catering began handling private aviation catering for Dulles International Airport and other area airports. This was a big change because there is no set menu – they create whatever the guests request, and instead of cooking for a few hundred at corporate events and weddings, this is often only for six or seven people at a time. Merone’s is now doing all private aviation catering between Richmond and Dover. Giuseppe opened a third location in 2008 -- Tutti Gusti in Harrisonburg, Virginia, now run by youngest brother Fortunato. Between all three locations, there are now over 100 employees! Giuseppe has been working with his Performance Foodservice Roma sales representative, Joe DeNittis, since 1992 and loves him! Joe comes to the restaurant every week, he’s always been consistent and open and honest with Giuseppe, which has created a trusting relationship. He knows that Joe will work with him on anything he needs, and he also does whatever he can to help out Joe. Giuseppe’s advice is about restaurant ownership and operation, really look into it and understand just how much it takes,and be sure you’re willing to do it. Running a restaurant or catering service is hard work and you must always be available and willing to give up a lot. Giuseppe has always had fun in the restaurant business because he loves to be in the kitchen. Even now, he loves to go in and make amazing food creations. Giuseppe’s formula for success is to be honest, and make people love you! If you smile through it all, treating everyone as your personal friend while producing and delivering the best quality food, they will love you! Luciano, Antonio, and Giuseppe Merone.