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Letizia's Pizza, Logo

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Hours of Operation:
Monday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Our History

The name of Letizia's Pizza is part of the Northeast's pizza history. Joe Letizia was one of the first in the region to serve it — as a weekend-only item — when he opened his Italian restaurant down on Norwalk, Connecticut's Wall Street in 1937. This was the beginning of a tradition of authentic pizza and Italian dishes that continues to this day.

Uncle Joe's Origins

Joseph Mario "Uncle Joe" Letizia was born in Rapone (Potenza), Italy on August 3, 1893 and died on April 11, 1962 in Norwalk, Connecticut. He immigrated to the United States in 1906 at the age of 13, and, along with shining shoes, he found work mopping saloon floors three times a day in exchange for a sandwich and a place to sleep. He also went to night school, where he took up English and American History. He later joined the U.S. Army and, during the First World War, served as a cook. After the war, he held several jobs at both factories and restaurants.

Uncle Joe

Starting a Restaurant

It was in 1937 that Uncle Joe opened his first restaurant in Westport, Connecticut. It was known as The Triangle and, unfortunately, only lasted a year. Then, in 1939, he opened Uncle Joe's Restaurant on Wall Street in Norwalk. It was a bar and restaurant that only served pizzas on the weekends, and it was an instant success, at least in part due to the employees of Gardella's Moving and Storage Co. that had become loyal customers. The business thrived during the Second World War, but change was to come shortly afterward. Unable to renew the lease at the Wall Street location, Uncle Joe set out to find a new one. He managed to scrape enough money together to buy a piece of property in the Broad River section of Norwalk that included a two family house and a tenant. He then began building his new restaurant on the property, borrowing money from friends to help complete it when the contractor failed to, and it finally opened it in 1947. The first few years were lean as the automobile had yet to become commonplace for working class families. In a few short years, however, that all changed, and the business grew rapidly, leading Uncle Joe's to become one of Norwalk's premier restaurants. Life never being too easy for Uncle Joe; he was met with stiff resistance when he applied for his beer and wine license and it took several months to eventually get it.

Former Restaurant

Passing the Baton

For the first time in his life, the 1950s brought a good deal of prosperity to Uncle Joe and his family while he was in his late 50s. It was also during this time that he began his struggle with type II diabetes and the daily injections of insulin. He lost several toes in the early 50s and in 1957, he lost his leg at the hip. Like most things, this didn't seem to faze him, for when his youngest son later returned from being stationed in Libya and asked "How are you?" his brief reply was "Can't kick." He continued to work at the restaurant on a wooden leg until 1959, when he left two of his children, Louis and Victoria, to run the business. They ran Uncle Joe's together until his death in 1961, upon which Victoria became the sole manager. She remained so until 1970, and when business started to slow down, Uncle Joe's widow sold it to her eldest daughter Mary and youngest son Daniel. Louis, who originally intended to join them as a partner, opted out.

A Favorite Local Spot

Well after his death, Uncle Joe's was still known as a source of fine red-sauce meals at rock-bottom prices. Business started booming again and, after adding a full liquor license, Uncle Joe's became one of the favorite local spots for residents of Norwalk and New Canaan, Connecticut. Mary later retired in the early 1980s and sold her share to Dennis Dudas. Daniel and Dennis remained partners until Daniel's mother passed away in 1985. Daniel then sold his interest to Dennis' brother Scott. For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Letizia's were out of the pizza business.

A Tradition of Quality

Fortunately, for those that loved their pizza, it wouldn't be for long. Letizia's Pizza opened in Norwalk on Stevens Street in 1991, around the corner from Norwalk Hospital, and remained there for little more than a year. Finding that space too small for the growing business, it was moved to its current location on Main Avenue in June of 1992 by Uncle Joe's grandsons, Daniel and Dennis, and their loyal staff. As of February 2014, Daniel retired and longtime employee and cousin, David Cook, bought Dan's half of the business. Today, David continues Uncle Joe's tradition of serving one of Southwestern Connecticut's premier pizzas. They still offer baked ziti and ravioli, spaghetti with marinara, and hot parmesan grinders. Those things are fine, but with pizza this good, they're immaterial.

The Importance of Pizza Crust

As is true of New Haven's greats, crust matters immensely at Letizia's. Baked on a screen, then further toughened on the oven's brick floor, it is medium-thin Neapolitan-style, more chewy than brittle, with a full, earthy taste. Traditional mozzarella and sauce — the same food-service brands the family has used since the beginning — meld into a creamy Italian-American slurry with veins of tomato tang. Add disks of pepperoni weeping oil into the mix and you have a mighty bite that is outrageously juicy. It is best consumed the New York City way, by pulling one triangular slice from the circle and folding it in half down the middle. The crust is pliable enough to bend but not break, creating a trough that holds everything like an open-top calzone. Come on by and try a slice or a pie!