August 29, 2012 - By Trevor Keiser
Dennis Paige, co-owner of Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders puts final touches on a grinder. Photo by T.Keiser (click for larger version)
"If you're hungry, a grinder is the way to go," according to Tony Valvona, of Bellacino's Pizza and Grinders.
Valvona and his business partner Dennis Paige are the new owners of Bellacino's. Valvona and Paige had been talking about going into business for awhile and after looking at several different businesses and franchises, they both agreed on Bellacino's.
"Bellacino's is what I grew up on, back in the `60's and `70's," said Valvona. "To see a franchise that is still in existence today and putting out the quality of product it did back then, just sold us."
Paige said Bellacino's came out of the Mancino's brand, and is owned by Joe Mancino.
"We actually pronounced it Bellachinos, but when corporate was in training us they corrected us," he said. "It's a family owned business and that's where we're at, we got two families."
Valvona said the franchise has given them nothing but 100 percent support.
"When we found this place, this place was just on the verge of shutting down," added Valvona. "We came in here and said let's put some life back into this place and let the community enjoy one of the landmarks that's been in Lake Orion for many, many years and that's where we're at today."
Valvona and Paige said they've had plenty of positive feedback and reviews from customers since they officially opened the doors back up for business on Aug. 3.
"A lot of customers are coming in here who haven't came in here in a long time and just word of mouth that there was new owners," Valvona said. "They came in and tried it and nothing but good remarks from everybody, they are thanking us for keeping it open."
As far as the ingredients, they're all made from scratch.
"We mixed, the flour, the yeast, all the ingredients," said Paige. We also slice own meat and vegetables."
Paige said he's been going through the menu and he hasn't made or tasted anything he didn't like.
"I wouldn't want to sell something I didn't believe in," he said. "We believe in the product."
"We've tasted our product, so that we know love it, and the customers who are out there we encourage them to come in and see a big, big surprise from what they knew before," he said. "We're doing it right and we're doing it the Ballacino's way."
As for the restaurant itself, Paige says it's a family atmosphere. They added some new fresh paint to brighten the place up and will be adding photos of historic landmarks in Lake Orion on the walls.
They also want to add some TV's so customers can enjoy something while they eat.
"We're also staying open late until 11 p.m. after Lake Orion and Oxford home football games on Friday nights," Valvona said. "So they got a place to sit down and go over their game and everything or whatever else we can do to accommodate them."
Both Valvona and Paige said they attribute their success to their employees.
"Our staff is important and they are our family," said Paige.
Bellacino's Pizza and Grinders is located at 1188 S. Lapeer Road and provide dine-in, carryout, delivery and catering. For more information call 248-814-4030 or visit bellacinos.com.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.