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What do you get when you grow up in Sicily, eating pizza made from scratch by your grandparents who made the sauce with the tomatoes and the spices they grew? Then you move to New York at age 10 and help your father run pizza shops there?
You get a darn-good pizzamaker.
That would be Salvatore Conigliaro, who moved to the U.S. from Italy as a 10-year-old. He will open Salvo’s Pizzabar in Town Center at O-Town West, the brand new shopping and restaurant center that is being built between Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World.
He said he probably won’t open until 2023 because of mostly Covid-related delays.
Using his Sicilian grandmother’s sauce recipe and his Sicilian grandfather’s recipe for a crispy dough, Conigliaro — his friends call him Salvo — will sell 10-15 different pizzas by the slice to walk-up customers. He said there will be some outdoor seating but won’t be sure how much until the building is finished.
This is his first Salvo’s Pizzabar but not his first pizzeria. Conigliaro owned Pizza Mia Ristorante on South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. He said he sold the business, which is now called Nexus Pizza. It got rave reviews online for being great New York-style pizza.
What’s the best kind of pie he sells? Sorry, pepperoni lovers, not this time. Eggplant pizza is the bestseller, he said, followed closely behind by slices covered with vodka sauce and vodka cheese.
He plans to open future locations in Celebration, Lake Nona, Winter Park and other Orlando areas but said his restaurants will never be a franchised chain. “We are a family-owned business,” he said.
His father, Giuseppe Conigliaro, who owned pizza shops in New York City, will help him run the business.
By the way, this Salvo’s Pizzabar is not to be confused with the one his friend owns on New York’s Upper East Side (although, his father did work at a pizzeria on that exact corner location of 78th Street and York Avenue at one time in his life).