Legendary pizza spot Arcaro & Genell stands out in the self-proclaimed "pizza capital of the world."

In 1962, Angelo and Marie Genell partnered with Marie’s two brothers, Frank and Anthony Arcaro, to buy Laurenzi’s Restaurant in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, christening the new venture Arcaro & Genell. Though the Arcaros eventually struck out on their own, the Genells kept up the original restaurant and catering business—and today, the second and third generations follow in their footsteps, bringing new life into the operation. “Me and my brother Mark have been here since we were kids; we lived above the restaurant and never did anything else,” says Angelo, son of the original owner and current owner, whose wife and three children also work at the restaurant. “Our kids are the next generation—they like the business and bring in new ideas, like social networking, that I don’t have any idea about.”

Arcaro & Genell is a legendary pizza spot in a town that is itself legendary for its pizza culture. In the self-proclaimed “Pizza Capital of the World,” this bustling restaurant meets the requirements of the unique local pizza style—a thick but light dough with a lengthy rise time and cooked in 11”-by-17” baking pans, served in “cuts” rather than slices—but its pizza still stands out thanks to a well-seasoned sauce, a proprietary blend of cheese and a focus on consistency. “We have our own style of pizza in Old Forge, but each place has a different taste of pizza,” Angelo explains. “It’s all really good, but different. You never get sick of eating it.”

Even with a robust catering business, a pizza shipping operation and a full-service menu that includes homemade pasta and sauces, Angelo still believes his greatest success involves the customers who have created a large circle of extended family. And, he says, it all hinges upon dedicating the requisite hours and elbow grease. “You need to be able to put in a lot of time—sometimes without making any money,” says Angelo. “This is definitely not the business to be an absentee owner.”

– Tracy Morin