AT TRIPOLI PIZZA AND BAKERY The Seabrook location of Tripoli Pizza and Bakery may only be 10 years old, but the Zappala family has been serving up fresh bread for nearly a century. They expanded to include pizza in the ’40s, a recipe that many hail as the best “beach pizza” around. Matt Zappala sat down to tell us more about the business — which now spans four generations — including what inspired the family to open their Seabrook location, what it takes to run a successful business, and more. Photos provided by Matthew Zappala.
How long has Tripoli Pizza and Bakery been around? About 10 years [in Seabrook], but we’ve been in Salisbury for almost 70 years. It’s a family business, Tripoli has been in our family since the ’20s in Lawrence [Massachusetts]. We started the bakery-style pizza in Lawrence. In 1946, our family used to go to the beach to vacation, and they saw an opportunity to work and try to make some money because [business] was so slow in the city at that time of year. What makes Tripoli unique? We are a bakery that makes and sells a bakery-style pizza. Our style of pizza sets us apart from other pizzas; our pizza is old bakery style, thin, crisp crust, square-pan pizza, handmade [using] the highest-quality ingredients and no preservatives. And the freshness of our pizza — we prepare it to order, we mix the dough throughout the day — we don’t buy frozen dough or let dough [sit] for a long time, it’s fresh dough. We hand-roll the pizza and we make it to order. We have a unique texture crust and flavor, and we use high-quality ingredients, we
don’t skimp or use things with fillers. We use quality ingredients that give [our pizza] the rich flavor that it has. Besides our pizza, we also have fresh baked handrolled breads, cream pastries, cakes, macaroon cookies…. What is your personal favorite dish? My personal favorite is a slice with pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms. I get dessert with that — I get a lobster tail or a whoopie pie. The lobster tail is crunchy, creamy, rich Italian pastry. What is a dish everyone should try? Besides the pizza, our cheesecake is very popular, very good. The other thing that is very popular is [our] ricotta cannoli. A box of eight with extra provolone and some cannoli, and that makes everybody’s day. A good summer day at the beach. What is an essential skill to running a restaurant? You need to have a passion to make a great product that your customers are looking for to keep them coming back.
There’s a lot that goes into that passion — hard work and consistency. Manage a great team, [get them to be] passionate, dedicated, and consistent with making great products. When you have a great customer base and they like your product, that’s what keeps you going, that provides the fire for the passion. We’re fortunate to be able to serve all those customers for so many years, and hopefully we can continue to do it. And we thank the [customers] for keeping us in business for that amount of time. Our family, loyal customers, and great employees are what keep us going.
time off, and it’s nice to be part of people’s vacation time and to serve them a great product that they can enjoy. People who come to visit us are here to enjoy the Seacoast and what it has to offer, and we’re glad to be part of that. — Alison Downs
What is your favorite part of being on the Seacoast? I love the Seacoast and being near the ocean. A lot of the customers that come in are on vacation. People are there to have fun and enjoy their
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Seacoast Scene 6-21-18