Franco Valentino prepared a freshly made pizza for an order during the lunch rush April 12, 2010. (Staff photo by Norine Longo.)

By Norine Longo

The members of the Valentino family are no strangers to the food business. They have more than 40 years of experience owning restaurants and pizzerias throughout New Jersey, including Rodolfo’s in South Plainfield for more than 15 years and Campus Pizza in New Brunswick.

Three years ago, the Valentino family came to Ewing, opening Valentino’s Pizza and Subs, formerly Nino’s. The pizzeria is owned and operated by Franco Valentino, who was born in Italy and came to the U.S. in the 1960s.

He started work early and learned to make pizza at age 12 from his older brother, Vinny.

His family members work alongside him including his niece, Daniela Valentino, brother Vinny who helps out from time to time and his son, Franco Valentino, Jr., who attends The College of New Jersey.

One of the best things about the establishment, Daniela said, is their menu, made up of homemade items and family recipes, Daniela said. Some of their most popular menu items are their pizzas and cheesesteaks, something she said customers always compliment them on. “They say we really stand out because our taste is authentic,” Daniela said.

The most popular sub is their self-titled creation, Valentino’s Sub, which includes grilled chicken, sauteed onions, mozzarella cheese and ripe tomato sauce. The idea, a family member’s concoction, became a quick favorite when it was tried out on customers in one of their other eateries.

Valentino’s now offers the convenience of ordering food online through orderiton.com, a service Daniela says has become extremely popular, especially among college students. Daniela said the pizzeria has a strong relationship with its customers, especially those who come during their lunch rush, which has developed a steady following in the community.

“We’re always talking to our customers and getting to know them,” she said. “They’re not just a number here.”

Daniela said Valentino’s spends much of its time participating in local events and providing food and donations to various programs. They provide lunches for the Thomas J. Rubino Academy across the street, work with Parkway Elementary School, have donated to the Firefighter Child Safety Program on fire prevention and provide pizza and wings to several Trenton-area schools’ after school programs.

Valentino’s weekly specials include a 15 percent off discount for college students, an $8.99 large pie on Mondays and Tuesdays, two baked dishes for $13.95 on Wednesdays, a free two-liter soda when you order two large pizzas on Thursdays and Saturdays and the Sunday special of two large plain pies, 15 wings and a two-liter soda for $28.95. Tax is not included.

Valentino’s Pizza and Subs is located at 1429 Parkside Avenue in Ewing. They provide catering services and deliver to the Ewing area. They are open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. In the summer months, they will close on Sundays. For more information, call (609) 882-2880 or visit valentinosnj.com.