Antoinette Balzano

Granddaughter of Anthony "Totonno" Pero tells the story of how he founded Totonno's Pizzeria in 1924

Antoinette Balzano is the granddaughter of Totonno's founder, Anthony Pero. At Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitana on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, pizzas have been made in the same way in the same spot since 1924. Anthony (Totonno) Pero, emigrated from Naples in 1905 and began making pizzas for Lombardi’s grocery store on Spring Street in Manhattan.  Because of Totonno’s work, Lombardi’s became the first licensed pizzeria in America and Totonno became the first pizzaiolo. Totonno's grandchildren, Louise (Cookie) Ciminieri, Frank Balzano, Antoinette (Annette) Balzano along with Michael Gammone, their long-time pizzaiolo, and Migdalia Catanzaro, his assistant, continue to operate the restaurant making Totonno’s of Coney Island one of the oldest, continuously run, family-owned pizzeria in America, and possibly the world.