Contessa's Pizzeria Owner: 'We've Come A Long Way in 4 Years'
Geno Ivey looks back on the last four years as his pizza shop celebrates an anniversary and credits much of Contessa's success to its faithful customers
Contessa's Pizzeria owner Geno Ivey says one of the most important things about running a restaurant is that the customers have to be happy, and they have to be having fun.
That's obviously what he's doing.
Anyone who's dined inside the restaurant at 6630 Wise Ave. has probably heard a joke or two from Ivey as he cranks out dish after dish, clocking 80-some hours a week.
Ivey talked to North Canton Patch recently about what has made the business a success as it celebrates four years of serving up Italian dishes.
"We've come a long way in four years — from knowing nothing about the business," said Ivey, who'd been selling cars for 27 years before opening up Contessa's. "A lot of stuff we learned on the fly. Customers helped a lot with comments. ... A lot of good suggestions, and we went with it."
Ivey says the business thrives mainly because of its customers. He gave much credit to those who've made Contessa's a routine stop during lunchtime or dinnertime.
He said many order items that aren't on the menu. And is that an issue for Ivey? Not at all. He's happy to experiment with ingredients and find something that suits his customers. In fact, there are about 30-35 dishes he sells that aren't even on the menu.
One is what Ivey calls the "angry pasta" — six different spicy peppers and cajun chicken served with angel hair pasta.
"It is hot, hot, hot," he says.
Ivey says he's spent too much of his life doing something he wasn't passionate about. Now he finally gets to do something he loves: cooking — something his grandma taught him to do when he was just 5.
To his customers, Ivey says this: "Thank you for supporting me, and watching me grow, and helping me grow. And for staying with me through all my highs and lows."