A West Philadelphia staple is closing its doors.
Beginning business nearly forty years ago by an Italian immigrant and his wife, Mimmo’s Pizza at 60th and Walnut streets has flipped its last pie.
The owner and his wife, who prefer to be identified as Tony and Maria, has served the community, working long hours and becoming an institution in the neighborhood.
“This Mimmo’s Pizza [location] opened in October of 1981, since then we have served this community day and night,” said Tony, as tears rolled down his face. “It is this community, they help put bread on my table for so many years and I thank all of them, each and every one of them.”
During their interview with The Tribune, Tony and his wife worked to serve the customers at their restaurant, preparing pizza and sandwiches between questions.
“I will miss them,” said Tony about the residents of West Philadelphia.
After leaving Sicily for New York, Tony joined a construction labor union. After eight years he moved to Philadelphia, where he became fond of the pizza business and became a partner in a pizza establishment.
“Eventually I became a full owner with my wife,” Tony said. “It took a long, long time to reach where we are. A long time to sacrifice a lot of things, a long time to not enjoy life but I come to this country with a mission to make things better for my children.”
And he did.
Today, he and his wife have a son who is a lawyer, another who is a member of the reserves, and a daughter who is a doctor.
“The reason that I work day and night is for my family,” said Tony who cited the poor economy as one of the factors which increased hardship of staying afloat. “It seems like light work, but its not. Especially if you have to do all the preparations and make sacrifice. Being in business is not easy,”.
Tony decided, along with his wife, to retire and offer the location to a larger business, who could accommodate the demands of the business in a slowed economy. That will be Pete’s pizza, the owner of which Tony says he has known for thirty years now.
“I have been knowing Tony every since he’s been here, and he has been a very good businessman,” said Abdul Salaam, president of the 60th Street West Market Street Business Association. “Like he said, he worked and worked to build it. He’s been a very good business man.”