Finding the most important piece of the pie

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Finding the most important piece of the pie

by Alex Vicinanza, Staff Writer

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In Glen Rock, there are many options for when you are deciding where to eat. Glen Rock has options varying from Chinese to New York Deli style. One thing Glen Rock is known for is the pizza. The two most well-known  joints in Glen Rock are Francesca Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta and John’s Boy Pizzeria. Both located on Rock Rd, in Glen Rock, NJ have become favorites among the people of Glen Rock.

Francesca owner Salvatore Reina came to Glen Rock with little to nothing. It was pretty easy for Sal to find his perfect location, considering that his brother had just started a family in Glen Rock. He recommended to Sal that he should check out the town to scope out a space for a pizza joint. Sal looked online and saw there was space available on Rock Road. He immediately took out all the money from his 401k and came to the Rock.

Sal did not expect to be in the food industry after college. After he graduated, Sal worked a normal nine to five job. One day, when Sal didn’t get the promotion he wanted, he decided that we wanted to do something different. Fast forward to April 10th, 2008, and Francesca Brick Oven Pizza became the newest Pizza parlor in Glen Rock.

Francesca has a wide variety of food selections. They don’t only serve pizza. When they first opened, pizza and salads were the only options. As time went by, Sal had the opportunity to expand his kitchen. He started selling heroes, paninis, chicken tenders, french fries, and even more. Now, Francesca has many food options, for the customers.

Francesca often holds events in the parlor. Every year, they hold an anniversary party. These parties include a chocolate fountain, photo booth (with props) and free slices for the customers. The held an even larger event for their 10 year anniversary. Offering a whopping free slices to their first 500 customers. As the day went on, Sal decided to just give everyone free slices. They eventually gave away over 1,000 slices! The anniversary event is always special at Francesca and draws a lot of attention from the community.

Francesca has been recognized by many websites and news stations. News 12 once did a segment on Francesca. 201 magazine did a paper on Sal and the Francesca family. The Glen Rock Gazette is a norm for Sal. They mention Francesca in almost every paper, which they release every Friday.

Sal is a very quiet person. He doesn’t often advertise in papers or online. But, the people of Glen Rock know how to get Sal going. He said, “the people of Glen Rock are so kind and supportive. I love talking with my customers. The craziest thing is seeing everyone grow up. You and all your friends were so small, when I first met you guys. Now you are so grown up and ready for college”.

Sal also enjoys surprising his customers. Five years ago, I got a concussion right around my birthday. To help me feel better, Sal came to my house with a pizza pie. The pie has cut out to the letter A (for my name, Alex). It was a special moment that I will never forget. Every since, Sal and I have had a tight relationship and I am proud to call him a mentor in my life.

Francesca offers woodfired pizza by the slice. If you are not aware, that is very uncommon. Sal is only aware of a few other pizza parlors that offer woodfired pizza , and none of them are nearby. The have a full wood fire and put the slices and pies into the fire. Francesca also has a large beverage selection. The have Coca-Cola beverages, fountain style. They also serve ice tea, power drinks, and lemonade. Francesca does not offer alcoholic beverages, although, they do not discourage customers from bringing in their own wine, beer, or hard liquor. . However, this is not a common sight for Sal. Sal only sees this a couple times a week. It is not very common.

Switching sides to John’s Boy Pizzeria. Current owner, Umberto Iommazzo, runs a very successful pizza parlor, only a few doors down from Francesca. John’s Boy started in 1983. The original owner was John. He later passed the crown to Umberto.

John had a successful pizzeria in Naples, Italy. When he moved to America, he opened a new shop in Norwood. It’s safe to say Umberto was born into the pizza industry. Someone told John to check out Glen Rock, when looking for a new location. Immediately, John was hooked. Norwood was a city, but Glen Rock was a small town where everybody knew everybody. . John had never experienced anything similar to that. He bought the space, and the rest is history.

When John’s Boy first started, there was originally very few food options.They only served  the basic pizza parlor foods like pizza and sandwiches. When Umberto came in, he changed things up. Now, John’s Boy offers fish and many more specialty Sandwiches.

To drink, John’s Boy offers Pepsi beverages, with four different beverage coolers. The usual beverage choice for high school students is either Gatorade or Pepsi.

What Umberto loves most about Glen Rockis the people. He enjoys how friendly everybody is. Growing up in North Bergen, the communities are very different. North Bergen has a population of over 63,000. In contrast, Glen Rock’s population is just over 12,000. Glen Rock is much smaller and Umberto knows most faces that stroll through the front door.

John’s Boy often sponsors youth sports teams. Either if its football, baseball, basketball, or soccer, Umberto is open to let the young athletes of Glen Rock wear his shops name. Once the season is over, he enjoys whichever team he sposners, have an end of season party, at John’s Boy.

John’s Boy often hold birthday parties. The parlor can hold up to 40 people. This past Saturday, March 25th, Umberto helped set up and host a birthday party. This happens a lot, at John’s Boy.

Similar to Francesca, John’s Boy has also been recognized by the media. 201 Magazine, the Glen Rock Gazette, and Bergen Magazine have all done segments on John’s Boy.

 

John’s Boy and Francesca, are both fan favorites, among the people of Glen Rock. Whenever a resident of the Rock is hungry, pizza is more often than not, one of the first options. Umberto and Sal are both very proud of their work in the pizza industry, so far.

Former Francesca’s employee, James Leonard, had nothing but positivity to say about his previous workplace. He was a delivery boy for Francesca. He was forced to quit, due to his baseball season taking up most of his time.

James usually worked a five hour shift, after school. Sometimes, on weekends, he would work for over nine hours. He enjoyed working at Francesca and had a close relationship with Sal. He even thinks of Sal as his “boy”.

When asked about which spot he prefered, James said, “When I want a specialty slice, I’m going to Francesca. When I want a plain slice, I’ll go to John’s Boy”.

What James enjoyed the most about his job was the people. All of his customers were very friendly and his coworkers made him feel at home. Sal helped him learn the food industry and what the possibilities are, in food.

A friendly face in both Francesca and John’s Boy, Mack Alvino has a very close relationship with Umberto. Mack’s dad and Umberto grew up with Umberto, so it’s only appropriate that Mack loves eating his pizza.

Mack eats pizza a lot. He says he usually goes to either John’s Boy or Francesca four times a week. When he gets pizza, he usually gets two or three plain slices.

When asked about how these two owners have changed Glen Rock, Mack said, “Umberto has been a staple in Glen Rock. Experience every kid all know to well. Going to town after school on Friday and eating some pizza. Both generous to the community and have influenced a lot of people”.

Another citizen of Glen Rock, Marly D’amato, also loves eating at John’s Boy. Her favorite of the two palors is John’s Boy. When asked about her favorite slice, she responded with the penne vodka slice.

Penne Vodka is the most popular specialty slice at John’s Boy. The margarita slice is also a popular choice, at John’s. For Francesca, the plain slice is the usual choice, for customers.

In a poll with 46 votes, 73% said John’s Boy said John’s Boy was their favorite pizza spot, in Glen Rock. The other 26% all voted for Francesca.

Umberto and Sal have both solidified themselves at staples in the Glen Rock food industry. At either location, you will be greeted with smiling faces, happy to serve any of your choices. The slices are great and the service is even better.