At age 17, Antonio Scotti Rinaldi, of 2 Brothers Pizza, began his cooking career in Italy.
He started by waiting tables at various local restaurants in Naples. He remained true to his love for cooking, even while serving a two-year required military term in Italy. On the Italian navy ships, he would hang out with the chefs in the galleys, learning the tricks and techniques that would bring him success in the U.S.
“I knew recipes from there, and then I came here. We brought a lot of ideas,” he said. He came to the United States in the late 1970s. He worked at pizza places until he decided to open up his own restaurant with a restaurant worker, Giovanni Silvestri, whom he first met back in Italy. The two knew one another’s faces from making their way through restaurants back home, but were barely acquaintances. Silvestri arrived in the U.S. a couple of years after Rinaldi. They became friends and later joined forces to open Nino’s on Parkway Avenue in 1980.
“By destiny we came together,” he said about Silvestri and himself.
The restaurant was part of the top three area pizza places (Nino’s, Parkway Pizza and Villa Rosa), he said; it was the place to go. Now, there are about “33 pizzerias,” he said. But for most of its 25 years, Nino’s had much success. Towards the end, it wasn’t the same, however and the owners needed a change.
Three years ago, Rinaldi and Silvestri decided to move to a new location. They now own 2 Brothers Pizza, located at 1608 Pennington Road, in Ewing. While it is true that they are not brothers, over the years they’ve come to see each other as so, he said.
With the move, some customers were left behind.
“The people want to know where we are,” he said. “People I find all around, like in the bank, they say ‘Tony, where are you?’ he said.
But, not everyone is confused and many people have followed the chefs to their latest location, he said. The main focus of 2 Brother’s Pizza is the pizza.
Rinaldi has lived in Ewing for almost 30 years now, but hasn’t forgotten his Italian roots, he said. Cooking was a big part of his family traditions, he said. “I have the best pizza, because I have the same recipe, same sauce and cheese,” he said. “I’ve never changed it for many years, from generation to generation.
“I love to make pizza. I love to make dough.”
Personal pizzas are $6.50, while large pizzas are $10.50.
The restaurant gets large orders of pizza often. Recently, he was asked to make 126 pies for one of the local colleges, he said. It can sometimes look “like a factory here,” he said.
Out of the number of gourmet pies available, Margherita pizza is the most popular, he said.
Besides the pizza, there are traditional Italian dishes on the menu.
“I can cook anything from Italy,” he said. “I can make rigatoni from Italy, fettuccine alfredo, ragu, clams and white sauce,” he said. “For me, it’s easy. No big deal.”
An order of gnocchi or lasagna is $8.
His favorite things to cook are sauces, such as the marinara sauce. He also enjoys cooking the lasagna and manicotti. The menu also includes salads and sandwiches.
A tuna salad is $5.99, a six-inch roasted pepper cheesesteak is $4.50, and a six-inch ham and provolone hoagie is $4.25.
The restaurant offers catering as well.
Rinaldi is aware of the vast competition, but he feels the business is doing well.
“Business goes up and down, but I have never complained,” he said.
Years of putting well-learned skills to the pan along with the success that doing so produced has not made the two brothers slow down. The surroundings may have changed but the mind-set is still the same.
“The food I have, I try to make it the best I could,” Rinaldi said.
For more information, call (609) 882-8844.