Augie’s Pizza: How a former WWII ski paratrooper became one of the Midwest’s most beloved pizzaioli.

Starting with one modest location, Augie D’Amicone and his wife crafted a remarkable pizza lineage for their family over three generations.



 

After arriving in the States as a teenager, Augie D’Amicone, raised in the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy, was drafted for the U.S. Army as part of the 10th Mountain Division, a group of ski paratroopers in World War II. Once back in America, he worked various jobs; a shoemaker by trade, he also made cheese in Middlefield, Ohio, selling his product to Italian importers—including a Mr. Gallucci (for whom Augie also made shoes).

It was Gallucci who, in 1964, helped Augie start up his own pizzeria, Augie’s Pizza (augiescatering.com), in Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Augie and his wife, Mary, developed the recipes from scratch. “In that area, pizza was in its infancy, but he was a stickler for quality, precision and detail,” recalls Daniel Jenks, who co-owns Augie’s with his wife, Deborah (Augie’s daughter, who grew up sleeping in the pizzeria’s booths). “Success was based on word-of-mouth and the quality of the product. And if you met Augie, you loved him. He’d work the ovens and talk to customers with a smile on his face.”

But Augie’s bigger dream was to set up his three daughters with their own pizzerias. Teresa and Tom opened their Maple Heights, Ohio location, Teresa’s Pizza (teresaspizza.com), in 1969; their son took over the business and is now franchising, with 14 stores and growing. In 1977, daughter Pamela and Steve opened an Augie’s in Corry, Pennsylvania. Augie also set up a pizzeria for his brother-in-law Guido. 

Even after his death in 1978, Augie’s hard work continued to pay off. Deborah and Daniel operated the original location, while Ohio-based Augie’s locations opened in South Russell in 1981 (now helmed by Deborah’s son Danny); in North Royalton in the early ‘90s (run by Deborah and her son Joseph); and in Independence in 2004 (overseen by a cousin, Ed Pesta). Another of Debbie’s cousins opened Lorenzo’s, while the original Augie’s is now a Teresa’s, run by a nephew. “It’s amazing how all of these pizzerias were made from one man—who died too young, at 57—but he worked seven days a week, with no vacations,” Deborah says. “In this business, you have to work hard, enjoy it and embrace it.”

Though Augie and Mary grew successful businesses with stellar reputations, his progeny learned well his lessons of hard work, dedication and giving back. All of the pizzerias remain active in their communities though work with charities, local sports teams and schools—and through their employees and customers, whom they consider family. “We carry on Augie’s traditions with great pride,” Daniel notes. “When a customer gets his order, one of us is there to make sure it’s done right and talk to the guest. We can’t be perfect, but we want everyone to see we want to be perfect.” 

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Chef's Corner: Leah Scurto - Rosemary Sicilian Grandma Pie

Chef Leah Scurto shares the secret to her victory at the 2018 West Coast U.S. Pizza Cup with the Rosemary Sicilian Grandma Pie.

Pizza Without Borders: Italy’s Polyamorous Affair With Specialty Flour

Pizza makers try to find a way to make themselves unique in the market

Recipe of the Month—Khachapuri Stuffed Bread With Mozzarella, Feta Cheese and Baked Egg

This overseas treat can wow your customers, featuring Saputo Premium Gold Mozzarella

SmartMarket: MPP Marketing takes a fresh look at sustainability for pizzeria printing services

Paper to Trees: Marketing with Integrity

Make the most of your meats

Chefs and operators weigh in on the most in-demand Italian meats of the moment.

SmartMarket: Operators Turn Heads With Signature Menu Items from Caputo

Leading industry cheese manufacturer Caputo Cheese in Melrose Park, IL, offers custom cheese solutions to inspire innovation.

How gift cards can help your store give the gift of pizza—and make a little money in the process

Gift cards provide a plethora of marketing opportunities, especially around the bustling holiday season.

Celebrate National Pizza Month with this art from our readers

For National Pizza Month, we here at PMQ wanted to engage our readers’ creativity, and what better way to do so than letting them create our National Pizza Month cover art?

Chicago is my kind of town

PMQ's managing editor expounds upon his experiences with Chicago-style pizza and what you can look forward to in the October issue of PMQ Pizza Magazine.

Keep your thin crust from becoming tough and chewy

The Dough Doctor offers a few tips on how to keep your crust crisp.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags