Westport Pizzeria served its first slice in the 1960s. It will serve its last in the 2020s.
The restaurant — after Gold’s, the longest-running food-serving establishment in Westport — will not make it much into the new decade. however. The iconic pizza place is closing January 11.
The news — first reported on WestportNow — stunned Westporters. “The pizzeria” — that was all you needed to call it — was a fixture on Main Street from Columbus Day, 1968 to February 2014. Owner Mel Mioli moved to his current location around the corner on the Post Road, across from Design Within Reach, when his lease was not renewed.
Mioli — who founded the business with his brother Joe — figures that after 51 years of making pizzas (and memories), this is a good time to retire. Joe left the business in 2004, and served 3 terms as state representative.
Many other Miolis have worked at Westport Pizzeria. But none — including his 2 sons — wanted to carry on the tradition.
And what a tradition it was. The pizza was not gourmet — but it was great. The decor was simple — but it was fine. What counted was the food, the consistency, and the folks behind the counter.
Plus the memories. Thanks for all of them, from all of Westport, to all the Miolis.
In October 2018, Westport Pizzeria celebrated its 50th anniversary. Here’s how “06880” covered that story.
In October 1968, Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey battled it out for the presidency. Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave glove-and-fist black power salutes on the medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics. “Hey Jude” sat atop the record charts.
And on October 12, 1968 — its opening day of business — Westport Pizzeria sold a slice for 25 cents.
In October 2018, we all know what happened after Nixon became president. We’ve seen how far our country’s race relations have progressed — and how much further we have to go. “Hey Jude” is still a great song.
It costs quite a bit more than a quarter to buy a slice these days. Westport Pizzeria is no longer an anchor on Main Street.
But it hasn’t gone far — just around the corner, on Post Road East. And the special, basic-but-so-good recipe has never changed.
This Friday (October 12) the pizza place celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special deal: They’ll sell slices for 25 cents. Sodas are even cheaper: 15 cents.
In 1968, Westport Pizzeria was the only game in town. Now there’s competition everywhere, from thick-crust Planet and gourmet Tarry Lodge to train station Romanacci.
But the Mioli family — the founders and still the only owners of Westport Pizzeria — must be doing something right. A restaurant doesn’t last 50 years here on luck alone.
Some don’t even last 50 days.
Some things never change.