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Columbus Pizza History: A Slice by Slice Account

Posted by CMH Gourmand on October 5, 2008

Alternate Title: It’s Hip to be Square!

Pizza freaks know there are many styles of pizza – some pizzas have stronger claims to fame than others. A few of the better known styles are: New York, Chicago, California, New Haven and Neapolitan. Some lesser known styles are: Detroit, St. Louis, Midwestern, and Columbus. Yes, a case can be to be made for a Columbus style pizza or at least, an appendix about Columbus contributions to the Midwestern style. This may heat up some people, especially many of the east coast transplants in Columbus whining about square cut pizzas and being unable to find a decent triangle slice anywhere.

The history of pizza in the Capital City dates back to 1929. This makes Columbus one of the oldest centers of pizza pie production in the Midwest. Outside of a few east coast cities, pizza did not become common anywhere in the United States until after World War Two.

So what is Columbus style pizza? Square cut (AKA Tavern Cut) for sure, some say this facilitates sharing. The crust is thin, the bottom has a dusting of cornmeal and there is not much of a “ring”/crust at the end for holding your slice. Easy to find examples of Columbus style pizza are Donatos and Massey’s.

This square cut approach is a Midwestern thing – you will find it as far east as Steubenville/Wheeling, WV and as far west as St. Louis. It is pretty common in Chicago. The square cut has been documented in Columbus since at least 1934 (TAT Ristorante) and was locked in as part of the “Columbus style” in 1949 by Massey’s.

Pizza can be placed in Columbus in 1929 at TAT Ristorante. TAT served pizza in Flytown, a not so nice name for the part of town for immigrants and African Americans that was between Spruce Street and Buttles Avenue, west of Goodale Park. Flytown was razed in the 1950’s.

Flytown Mural - Short North

This is the mural of Flytown you can find in the Short North.

Flytown Sign

More background information

Pizza was not on the menu at first, but you could order it at TAT Ristorante di Familia. The restaurant has some menus from the 1930’s which do show pizza as a menu item. TAT was named after the new Transcontinental Air Transport company which used Ford Tri Motor planes and passenger trains to transport people from New York to Los Angeles in 48 hours. The first stop on this journey was in Columbus where travelers left a train and traveled to the new Port Columbus airport to begin the air segment of their trip. TAT was new and exciting. This inspired the name of the new restaurant.

Wikipedia on TAT (airline)

TAT has moved several times since the then. The Corrova family still makes a good pizza pie at their location at James Rd. on the east side. There is a great mural on the wall which maps out the TAT continental route from coast to coast. There are many newspaper articles covering the wall outlining the long history of TAT (restaurant) in Columbus. TAT is the oldest family owned restaurant in the city.

More about TAT on Columbus Foodcast

TAT History

TAT Close up

The next major event was the opening of the first true pizzeria. Looking at old records (thanks to Jim Early from Columbus Restaurant History), in 1951, a restaurant that had pizza in the name was listed in Columbus phone books: “Romeo’s Pizzeria” at 1576 West 5th Ave. This marks when a new Italian pizza family started tossing dough in Columbus.

The Massuci family changed their name to Massey and started a chain that was branded as the makers of the “The Cadillac of Pizza”.

Romeo Sirij and Jimmy Massey introduced pizza to Columbus at Romeo’s Italian Restaurant on West Fifth Avenue in 1950.

Jim and Dan Massey a pizzeria on East Main Street in Whitehall in 1951 or 1952. The 1950’s saw the rise of some other well known dough slingers.

Thomas Iacono opened his first restaurant on Fifth Avenue in 1952, using his own family recipe brought over from Italy. Tommy’s Pizza features a thin cracker crust that crisps on the bottom when baked. The two Tommy’s locations on Lane Avenue are OSU campus landmarks. In 1954, Rubino’s Pizzeria and Spaghetti opened in Bexley and it retains a cult-like following today. Newspaper columnist and writer Bob Green made Rubino’s famous as he wrote of his memories about growing up in central Ohio.

(Massey’s web site again) “Guido Casa took over Massey’s in 1962, he perfected the special dough recipe that is used today. It’s always baked directly on the hearth with a specially ground cornmeal producing a thin, flavorful crust.”

“In 1971, Guido Casa’s son Philip, stepped in to carry on the tradition. He trademarked Massey’s exclusive Guido Brand pepperoni which is produced right here in Columbus. He also increased the number of pepperoni on a large pizza to 155 pieces.”

Though now operated by cousins of the original owners (Dave and Jim Pallone), Massey’s is still a benchmark for area pizza, with its rectangular slices, liberal herb sprinkling, spicy sausage and pepperoni (still made in Columbus), a good mix of quality cheese with a thin and crispy crust jacked up with a cornmeal dusting.

The 1960’s saw the beginning of another pizza powerhouse, Donatos. The Grote family took Columbus style pizza to the next level and beyond, opening many locations throughout the Midwest. The company was purchased by McDonald’s but after a few years, McDonald’s attempt at McPizza faltered and the Grote family purchased their company back for less than what they were paid originally.

Today Columbus us still takes a big piece of various pizza pie charts. There are over 450 pizzerias in the Columbus Metropolitan area. Columbus is home to NAPICS – North America Pizza and Ice Cream Show which is one of the biggest industry trade events in the world. We are also home to Mama Mimi’s Take and Bake Pizza. In Feb. 2000 Mama Mimi’s Take n Bake Pizza was born. Jeff and Jodi Aufdencamp have worked hard to put Columbus and Mama Mimi’s on the “Pizza World Map” by winning numerous national pizza competitions and awards. I had the pleasure of watching this company grow due to my close proximity to their Clintonville location.

So there you have it, Columbus and our pizza heritage. As for the whole square thing, I have to thank Richard Folk from Massey’s for finding an old article about pizza in Columbus that I could not get a copy of by any others means. Some excerpts from the article are listed below.

Columbus is Square When it Comes to Pizza
By Dan Trittschuh

“according to a survey conducted by the Triad Research Group in Cleveland, 66 percent of Columbus pizza lovers prefer to have their pizza cut into squares, rather than triangular wedges. At most pizza shops throughout the nation, the pieces are cut into wedges. And in neighboring Cleveland, the survey found that 70 percent of pizza consumers preferred wedges over squares.”

After surveying some of Massey’s long-time pizza cooks, Pallone surmised an answer to the mystery of square-cut pizza: “One of the old-timers around here was saying that we always used to serve the pizzas in paper bags, and that the pizza slices might have slid into the bag a little easier if they were cut in squares rather than wedges.”

And some more leisure reading for you:

Wikipedia on Pizza

St. Louis style pizza – Imo’s

Pizza History and Facts

Linda Stradley on the History of Pizza

If you have a passing interest in Pizza and want a list of hot spots – this map is a fun and interesting way to discover the vast array of regional choices in this US of A.

70 Responses to “Columbus Pizza History: A Slice by Slice Account”

  1. Elizabeth Lessner said

    I’m so hungry now. Way to go, Rubinos! (MY official pizza)

  2. Dave said

    Nice post Jim! Thanks for the education.

  3. Philip Casa said

    My name is Philip Casa and my father Guido Casa who purchased Massey’s Pizza in Whitehall in 1962, was the Godfather of Pizza in Columbus, Ohio. Guido grew up in Flytown, he stated as making and selling Pizza for Anton’s Restaurant in 1948. Yes it is true that Romeo Siri & Jim Massey that opened the first Pizzeria in Franklin County, followed by the Massey brothers Dan & Jim opening the same year Massey’s Pizza, and Guido opened Chef Casino on Cleveland Ave. at that location he talked his friend Richey DiPalo into going into the Pizza Supply business, and he made millions doing so. From Chef Casino Guido opened, along with his partner Eugene Ricardi, Ricardi’s Restaurant on High St. in Beechwold. After selling his share to his partner, Guido purchased Massey’s Pizza in Whitehall, where I started working at age 13, from 1962 until October 1999 when I sold the chain of Massey’s Pizza.

    Guido Casa encouraged so many people to open Pizzeria’s in Columbus, most are gone now, he promoted Pizza in Columbus for over 31 years, up until he passed on November 7, 1976.

    Guido Casa and so many others who were the Pizza Men of Columbus, Ohio were friends and they all respected Guido Casa as “The King of Pizza in Columbus“.

    I love the pizza business and hated to leave it, and I have forgotten more about the Pizza Business than most people think they know about it, but the sad part is that the pizza owners and the city’s of Columbus & Whitehall which has the oldest original Pizzeria “Massey’s Pizza” have never given credit to the Pizza Men that built the pizza business for them to profit from, or to “The Godfather of Pizza” GUIDO CASA!

    CMHG Comment: Thanks Mr. Casa and to everyone that grew the pizza business in Columbus! We have much more history than people know.

    • Victoria said

      I LOVED Ricardi’s Restaurant and grew up in the Beechwold area. That Pizza was the best I’ve ever had and is unmatched by any Pizza shop today. I am trying to encourage my husband to open a Pizza Restaurant and want it to be like Ricardi’s was. Any thoughts,tips, suggestions etc?

    • Leanne said

      If you can duplicate the aroma you’ll have it made. There was something distinctive about it, not just a generic Italian/Pizza smell … something more. It was my favorite place to go for spaghetti when I was a kid growing up (50’s-60’s) in Clintonville, my mouth started watering as soon as we stepped in the door. A great loss for the area.

      Maybe you can tell me what they put on their pizza that had a licorice taste to it – fennel ? Never had it before or since but it was heavenly.

    • Don said

      I too grew up in Beechwold and spend many a dinner at Ricardi’s! You don’t happen to have any old photos or memoribilia from Ricardi’s do you?? Thanks!

    • Eugenia said

      I grew up on Riccard’s Pizza and Pasta…as I’m a Riccard!!!!Do not make Pizza and pasta like we had any more…good old home made, quality product!
      I have found memories of the Guido Casa, and his son Phil and family.Guido and my father were the best f friends!!
      Oh how i miss those days!
      Would like to say “Thank you” to all of our loyal patrons over the years…. you are greatly missed!!

    • Ron Herbert said

      Dear Phil:

      Just caught your post and wanted to give you a shout out for all of the great memories and fantastic pies my family and me have enjoyed since the mid-60’s. We lived off Shady Lane ( dad worked for Rite Rug then ) and we frequented your Main St store when it was the only one. Mark and Clark were busy with you making pies for all of us who lined up to enjoy your incredible product. I moved to Central Florida a few years after graduating high school in ’71 and your place was my first stop on my way to mom’s from the airport when I’d visit. There was and remains no equal to what you served then or now. Thanks for all you and your family did for pizza in Columbus.

      Best regards, Ron Herbert

  4. Carolyn said

    The John L Ripley Families, growing up in Groveport and living in Columbus and around, have been enjoying Massey’s Pizza at the E Main St location since 1959 when Dad would order a large pep n cheese and bottles of cold Pepsi to pick up on payday Friday nights to take to Miles East Main Drive-in to watch Disney movies. I was 2 years old and my sister was 3 at the time. I turned 50 this year and want to say, “Keep up the good work!” Loved those paper bag triangle tents. Bring ’em back for your anniversary celebrations! ~ Carolyn (Ripley) Elliott
    Columbus, Ohio USA

    Massey’s Pizza and E Main St in Whitehall, was the only place to shop on the E/SE side of Columbus in the ’50’s – ’60’s when I was a kid! Dad and Mom would order a large pep n cheese and bottles of cold Pepsi on payday Friday night, pack me and my sister up in our PJ’s with potty chair, and travel from Groveport to Massey’s on E Main St in Whitehall before going to the Friday nite drive-in – Miles East Main to watch the current Disney flick after playing on the playground underneath the Big Screen. People would stop by and say, “Whose got the pizza?”

    As an adult, the most fun I had was ordering Massey’s Pizza and having them pack it hot, right outta’ the oven in their famous brown paperbag “tent”. I miss that packaging! I love the cornmeal on the bottom of the pizza.

  5. Linda W said

    Remember Leonardo’s Pizza? That was the best in town! I used to work at the one on Morse Rd. in the Woodward Park Center…and occasionally at the Maple Canyon and Worthington locations. Does anyone know how long ago Leonardo’s went out of business…or is there one still around? The Orecchio Family were good people!

    • thomas foughty said

      i remember the pizza. i have not had a better pizza. they went out of business. i wish a family member would open one up soon, i will help them do so if possible. i have been around 46 years and it was the pizza was best i ever had.

    • Kim H said

      Leonardo’s was my favorite pizza as a teenager. Never found anything else as good! Tommy’s is probably my favorite right now, or maybe Rotollo’s. But neither is consistent. Leonardo’s was perfect EVERY time!

    • Linda said

      Kim – would love to know what years you worked at Leonardo’s…I think I worked there from 1977-1981.

    • Greg said

      Linda, I used to work at the Leonardo’s on Maple Canyon back in either 84 or 85. I was just telling a coworker how there was no pizza as good as Leonardo’s. I decided to look it up to see if they were still around which led me to this page. I notice that everyone here is mentioning the “Orecchio” family as being the owners. My memory was that a man named Mr. Cresap owned the one on Maple Canyon and at least another one in the Morse Road area. Maybe the Orecchio family sold out before 84?

    • Linda said

      Hi Greg – I remember a couple owning the one at Maple Canyon for a short time – can’t remember their names – I think the Orecchios were selling the pizza shops a little at a time…and from what I heard the last one to sell was in Dublin. I have a lot of great memories working there – I started when I was 16 and kept working there shortly after I got married at 20…so I think I must have worked there for about 5-6 years (primarily at Morse Rd.) – but occasionally at Maple Canyon and Worthington. That would have been 1977-1983 (you must have been there right after I quit.) Everyone I talk to about pizza that lived in Columbus during the Leonardo years say it was by far the best pizza in town! I miss that good pizza crust the most. Doc was the manager most of the time that I worked at the Morse Rd. location…do you remember him?

    • Kevin said

      I know this is an older thread but I just stumbled across it doing some research on my family’s old business. My uncle is an Orecchio, the son of the original owner’s of Leonardo’s, and he is preparing to re-open a Leonardo’s location with all the original recipes near Hilliard/Grandview later this year.

      Thanks to all of you who still have memories of this special place!

    • joecondo1970 said

      Kevin can you please confirm when your uncle will open up Leonardo’s, we use to go every Friday night at the Maple Canyon location for years.

    • Kevin said


      It will be open in the next two weeks or so. It is on hague ave, just off of trabue rd right near raymond memorial golf course. Hope you will be stopping by soon!

  6. DashinHilliard said

    Yes Linda, I remember Leonardo’s Pizza, and it was the best pizza in the city. I miss Leonardo’s to this day – with their crunchy medium thick crust, their delicious sauce, and the sheets of cheese on every pie. We used to be weekly regulars at the Lincoln Village store on West Broad Street. Our family of 4 would devour 2 large 14 inch pizzas and a quart of salad every Saturday night. Leonardo’s in Lincoln Village and Grandview were around until the mid 80’s…Lincoln Village closed and the equipment moved further west to New Rome and became Antolino’s. Supposedly they used the same recipes, but quickly the crust quality went down, and the sauce wasn’t quite the same. It was still acceptable, but not the same as the original. I believe the Grandview location on 1st Avenue near the current day Marshall’s and Old Bag of Nails was the original Leonardo’s location, with the other shops coming later. Leonardo’s was every bit the “legend” that Rotolo’s was, but they evidently sold out and died. The last Leonardo’s named store was the one in Upper Arlington, off Fishinger Rd. and Route 33 – it lasted until the 90’s and operates as a Panzera’s today. I would kill, beg, or steal for just one more Leonardo’s pizza….it was that good. Pizza in Columbus has never been the same – the closest pizza to it now is Enrico’s on Frantz Road in Dublin.

    • Chris_G said

      The original Leonardo’s location in Grandview was on the corner of Copeland and W. 1st. They moved to the Old Bag location in the ’70s.

    • Linda said

      Nice to know…I really miss that place. Wish there was a pizza place in Columbus that was as good as the old Leonardo’s – the group that does the taste testing of pizzas should try Ange’s Pizza on 161 and Karl Rd. They have the best pizza so far that I have personally found. If anyone finds a place as good as Leonardo’s please let me and everyone else know!

    • Dennis B. said

      It’s back on Hague Avenue just south of Trabue. It’s still the very best.

    • Linda said

      I have been there several times now…it’s worth the extra drive time (40 minutes round trip for me)…to get a delicious pizza again! And the cream puffs they have are wonderful too! Had a regular and pumpkin – wow! Very glad Leonardo’s is back…makes me very happy!

  7. Linda said

    Thanks for the tip on Enrico’s – I’ll have to try it. I remember the manager Jim who worked at the one at Lincoln Village, and I believe Doc used to run the last one in Arlington and the Orrechio’s owned all of the Leonardo’s Pizzas. The good ole days! GREAT PIZZA! I remember Antolino’s – decent pizza – just not as good as Leonardo’s. What a shame!

  8. Brian M said

    I just wanted to say Linda W and DashinHilliard that you both are absolutely correct about the Legendary Leonardo’s Pizza. I was trying to think of the best pizza that I had ever had and remembered that the very best was when I was growing up in Columbus as a kid and would demand that my Mom would order Leonard’s for dinner and that I wouldn’t touch any other food. Even though my parents were kinda poor at the
    time should would give in sometimes and order my my own small pepperoni, and I remember eating it in back seat of the car on the way home. AHH that was the best. I would give anything for just one more PIE!! If anyone ever comes across this pizza again please shout it to me.

  9. Vito A said

    Leonardo’s Pizza was absolutely the best to ever be served in the Central Ohio area. The first shop opened in 1952 and was located at the corner of First Ave. and Copeland in Grandview. (That location is now some sort of convenience store drive through) The founder and creator of all the original recipes was Cosmo Leonardo. Cosmo brought his secret recipes for “heavenly dough,” savory sauce and an incredible mix of imported smoked provolone and mozzarella cheeses to Columbus consumers and changed the way we viewed pizza forever. By the mid 60’s Cosmo decided to sell the business to Pat Orrechio, in order to follow his true passion as the drummer and leader of the “Love Notes” who provided decades of music and entertainment throughout the state. Despite Cosmo’s exit from the pizza business, his recipes and the famous Leonardo name stayed and lived on for many years to come and still live in the tasty memories we all share. If you close your eyes and take a deep breath, you can still smell the aroma of a piping hot Leonardo pie fresh out of the oven.

    • Adrianne Leonardo Morrow said

      Thank you for sharing a portion of the story that was being left out in all of the previous posts. My grandfather, my father and the rest of my family would certainly appreciate reading all of the accolades that everyone has shared about Leonardo’s Pizza. It has a very special place in our hearts! May both my Grandfather Cosmo and my Father Steve rest in peace -Adrianne Leonardo Morrow

  10. Wow, I remember the Leonardo’s on the corner of Copeland and First. It was a small green building, looked almost like a garage! The pizza was the best, though. Every Friday was pizza night at our house just a few blocks away and I can still see my dad coming through the door with a large Leonardo’s pepperoni pizza…ahhh, those were the days!

    • tom said

      This is correct. The original Leonardo’s was on that small lot across from Pierce Field. The owner, a greek gentleman whose name I can’t recall, sold the lot and moved to the shopping center just west of there and had the shop in the same area where Marshall’s restaurant is. This would have been at the time when the east end of that center was occupied by McKinley’s Pharmacy. But as to the original building indeed it was green. At the point it was there probably the only other pizza places in town would have been Tommys, Romeo’s [at the corner of 5th and North Star], Masseys, Rubino’s in Bexley and TAT. In the end Leonardo’s moved to the shopping center at the corner of Fishinger and 33, then Panzera’s took it over.

  11. Linda said

    Just an update – I tried Enrico’s Pizza that was suggested by DashinHilliard – it was good pizza but nothing like the old Leonardo’s. My personal favorite now is Ange’s Pizza (I go to the one on Karl and 161) – and Pizza House is a close 2nd. Always looking for good suggestions on the best pizza in Columbus, Ohio. I’ll try any of them at least once!

  12. Linda said

    Hi Thomas…it would be great if there would be a Leonardo’s again…loved the pizza crust – wasn’t cracker thin or too thick…it was perfect! I wonder if the Orrecchio’s are still around today? Would love to talk with them again. If anyone knows the Orrecchio’s (not quite sure of the spelling – but this is close) or has any way of communicating with them – via email or Facebook please let me know.

    They were wonderful people. They even attended my wedding back in 1981.

    Have a great weekend – and let me know if you find a place that is comparable to Leonardo’s.

  13. Laurie said

    Hello Linda
    I am connected to the Orecchio family. I dated Drew in 1979 and have since reconnected with him. Your kind words were so nice to read. Just to correct Vito(above). Drews dad Pat bought out Cosmo in the early 50’s. He then expanded the chain on his own, with the help of Drews mother Anna.I work with Drew and we make the original recipe at a camp for seriously ill children for Friday nite pizza.It’s amazing and everyone tells him it’s the best pizza ever.It’s too bad that the true artist from the mom and pop era have faded and everyone thinks that all the corporate stuff is so good , when we all know that it’s not even comparable.Thanks again for all the kind words. Drew sends his love to all the loyal friends and family of Leonardo’s.


    • Linda Welch said

      Laurie, so nice to hear from you. Pat and Ann had 4 children if I’m not mistaken, and Drew was the youngest son. How wonderful that you and Drew have reconnected and make pizzas on Friday night for seriously ill children. Maybe you guys should open up a pizza shop…if you do – please let me know! Tell Drew I said hello and if you see Ann and Pat – please let me know I think of them often. Take care and good luck to you guys.
      Linda W.

  14. larry anderson said

    Best pizza ever medium crust, cornmeal duste and that special mozzerlla and provolone mixture. Almost 40 years since I managed the Marion store and every time I am back in town someone will start a conversation about how no one made a better pizza.

    • Linda said

      Hi Larry,

      Do you remember DOC from the Morse Rd. store and Jim Flaherty from the West Broad store? Leonardo’s Pizza was famous back in the day! They also had great meatballs too! Do you know whatever happened to the Orecchio’s?

    • remember Jim oh yes the man was the best. Last i heard of the Orecchios they moved to Margengo ohio Pats son mike worked some in Marion

  15. Ron Herbert said

    Remember Tommys Pizza at Livingston and Hamilton. Back in 1971-72, we used to go there when my wife was pregnant with our 1st child. Always was craving that great pizza from Tommy’s . Never will forget it. Fond memories. Now I live in Houston, Texas but still an avid Buckeye fan. GO BUCKS! Way to beat Michigan!!!

  16. Will Willows said

    Romeo’s on Fifth instead of Romero’s, and don’t forget Caruso’s on the West side in the 50’s. Lot of Madison Countians trekked in from the sticks to eat a pie and drink some beer.

  17. Don said

    I think a former Leonardo’s employee makes the same pizza at Antolino’s down on Morse Road, east of Westerville Rd. My friend Tim worked at the Morse Road store all through the seventies and we get these pies when he comes to Columbus.

    • Doug Stark said

      Yes, Bob Snyder is the ex-Leonardo’s guy that owns Antolino’s on Morse Rd. Mike Cresap owned a store off of Cleveland Ave, S. of 270, as well. He is currently retired.

  18. bob little said

    My wife, son and I ate at riccardi’s many a night 1960’s. Eugene would take my son to the kitchento watch him till we were done. When my wife passed Eugene fead me every night for awhile I went from 180lbs to 220. I miss my friend. Thanks Bob

  19. Tom Rottmayer said

    The pizza I miss the most was the deep-dish pizza made at “Electric Fantasy”, a video game arcade just north of Morse Road west of Northland shopping center. It was better than Uno’s deep dish (even the original in Chicago, where I grew up).

  20. kevin please what is the name of the new pizza place on Hague i can’t find it on the net.

    • Laurie said

      The Original Leonardo’s Pizza 1783 N. Hague . By Drew and Laurie Orecchio.Opening around the first August.

    • i went to The Original Leonardo’s Pizza 1783 N. Hague last night and it was just like 25 years ago at the Maple Canyon store, the Pizza was absolutely incredible with all of the original ingredients, thank you Drew and Laurie for bringing back the best Pizza in Columbus. Please everyone who loves Pizza, you need to make a trip down to the store and try this Pizza.,

  21. Summerdaze said

    Leonardo’s just opened where the old Sparano’s used to be on Hague Ave, just this past Monday. They were giving out free samples the week previous. Wonderful pizza! I took back menus to my workplace down the street, and several people ordered lunch from there, and everyone loved it! It is my new favorite pizza place. 🙂

  22. Laurie said

    Thanks to everyone for your support. Praise God for everyone who helped make our first week great. Laurie and Drew Orecchio.

  23. Steve G. said

    On Sat. Aug.3, 2013 my wife turned onto Hague Ave. to avoid heavy traffic on Fisher Rd. As she approached Trabue Rd. passing by the old Sparano’s pizza building she noticed there was activity again after Sparano’s had moved. Not only was there activity, there was the name Leonardo’s. She turned around at the auto repair shop and went back to be sure she wasn’t being tricked by a mirage. It was (is) true, original Leonardo’s recipe pizza is once again available at this location. We ordered, we chatted, but left puzzled. My wife mentioned to Drew and Laurie that I knew the Leonardo family and went to high school with two of the kids ( Steve and Mary Jo, Linda was a few years younger) he said he didn’t know a Steve Leonardo or his dad.
    The pizza was nearly as I remember it during the middle and late ’60s. One of the defining touches of Cosmo’s recipe were the dabs of mozzarella sprinkled over top of the pepperoni. That was missing from this one and it was a bit over done, but the dough was the yeasty dough I remember and the sauce was as succulent and flavorful as I remember. One more thing about Leonardo’s pizza: I too have always thought it was the best in town, but it was always hands down, without peer, the very best ” next morning ” cold pizza for breakfast. That is if there were left overs!
    By the way, Laurie makes cream puffs. A certain Columbus German restaurant now has serious and formidable competition.

  24. Mike Teane said

    Massey’s is overpriced

  25. Linda said

    It’s a miracle! Can’t wait to try it this weekend! Looking forward to having a great pizza again.

    Linda W. – former employee of one of the original Leonardo’s back in the late 70’s and early 80’s!

  26. Dan D said

    The Original Leonardo’s is now closed – as of February 21, 2014. Phone disconnected. Facebook page deleted. They didn’t last long. The pie was good, but not Leonardo’s 1970 good. Maybe it was the oven – it was 80% but not quite the Leonardo’s I loved. At least I still have Enrico’s, which I feel is similar to the old Leonardo’s, even if Linda does not agree….lol.

    • Linda said

      This is SOOOO SAD! I can’t believe it! Leonardo’s was the only place I’d order pizza from since I found out they opened up on Hague! Drew and Laurie – if you are reading this – please contact me – your mom has my phone #’s.

  27. Danny said

    Alpha Pizza (Alpha bar and Grille) on Cleveland Ave. in Linden area. Wish I could find their original recipe. Absolutly the best.

  28. tom said

    occherrio family got it from first owner leonarnos that is

  29. Psul said

    Who remembers Caruso’s on the west side of Columbus, OH. that closed in 1968 or 69?

    • Nan said

      Yes our whole group of friends went there after every game can’t remember exactly where on west broad it was. Also had the best salads.

  30. Linda Welch said

    Anyone remember Mother’s Pizza on Morse Rd. in the 1980’s?

  31. Marcia Gordon said

    Does anyone remember Old World Pizzaria on East Main Street in Reynoldsburg? My kids and I would go there for great pizza. This would have been in the late ’70s to mid ’80s.

    • It was still around around in the late 1990’s, I recall getting pizzas there when I had friends living nearby. Not sure if it is still open based on a quick web search.

  32. Lou said

    In the 1990s there was a pizza place in Bexley near Capital University that served a stuffed pizza pie. It was about 2 inches thick and took an hour to bake. I can’t remember the name of the pizza shop. Any help?

  33. Yano said

    Great news for some of us transplants who really miss Columbus pizza, Donatos is now at Red Robin in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They flew out a team to show them how to make it right and they got it right. Its just the pizza though not The Big Don but so glad to have it here.

  34. Danny Moore said

    A VERY notable mention is Gant’s Pizza right down the street from Massey’s in Whitehall.. I grew up eating Jim Gantner’s square cut and delicious pizza. I was heartbroken when it sold. Back then ( early 80s) knowing the owner that worked in the restaurant wasn’t abnormal. But the new owners stayed very true to the original receipe’s even adding to the menu some pretty successful food options. I’ve left the state and whenever I would go back this was the first spot i’d eat. I miss you guys!

  35. Any love out there for Sandros Pizza on High St., Ohio State south campus in the ’80s? I worked there in 1984. It was very popular. Sandros’ reputation was hands-down the best pizza on campus — but then again, we were competing against the likes of Oval Pizza (aka, tomato sauce on a shoe), so there’s that. I was working the cash register one Saturday night when Keith Byers and his crew stopped by. At the time, a serious brush with greatness. Sandros Pizza was ordered by the slice. One slice would satisfy, two slices and you’d be stuffed. During a 2019 visit to campus, I decided to stop by and order a slice of Supreme. Sadly, Sandros Pizza was gone. In my very biased yet humble opinion, Sandros Pizza deserves, at the very least, an honorable mention in the history of Columbus pizza.

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