May 24, 2017
Introducing Itri Wood Fired
Starting a small business is a daunting task, especially if your goal is to open a storefront location. You must pick the right location, find a good lease or purchase the property, work with city and county and borough regulators, file for insurance and licenses, get a loan, etc. Never mind determining, what your business is about, what does it look like, how to bring people in the door.
As the Small Business Revolution begins work in downtown Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania, we have decided to follow several new and young entrepreneurs as they tackle the ups and downs of owning and starting a small business.
The Northeast of the US is thick with Italian-American families. You can’t go more than a few blocks in the Philadelphia area without running into another Italian restaurant. Why not? Everyone’s mom and grandma is the best cook you have ever met. So naturally, the small business dream in Bristol often begins and ends with opening your own restaurant.
Dana and Greg Pezza are both school teachers. They met while teaching and now the young couple with two young children are opening Itri (pronounced E-tree), an Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan, brick oven pizza. It is a dream Dana has had since she was a young girl.
Main Street in Bristol is Mill Street, a three-block range that is hard against the Delaware River. The street is dotted with service oriented businesses: hair salons, barbershops, health care offices. A few good food options exist, but currently, Bristol is not a foodie destination beyond the local crowds. New options like Itri, The Cantina, Bristol Stop and Odd Logic Brewing are on the way.
Recently, the Small Business Revolution crew used the empty Itri space to film business interviews as we selected our final six businesses to be part of Season 2. Why was it empty? Greg and Dana waited patiently for a few final licenses to come through, like their liquor license. Once that was approved, the week of March 22 became full steam ahead.
Since they secured the space on Mill Street, the Pezza’s have spent time honing their menu, ready to jump in and retrofit their space once final approvals were given. By March 24, they embarked on a labyrinth of wood frames, building out their restroom, the kitchen, the bar area and more.
As construction began and the couple becomes more excited for their eventual opening, they faced the same issues all small business owners face: What do we call this place?
Itri is a small, mountain town in the Naples region of Italy, a place where Greg Pezza’s grandfather, Ernesto, hailed from. On hearing the family’s back story, Dana loved the name Itri, which thrilled Greg and the entire Pezza family.
The Pezza’s have a concept, a space, a name and a liquor license. If they are successful will be something only time will tell. Thousands of hours of hard work lay ahead. We will follow their story as they reach new milestones along the way.