BEMUS POINT, N.Y. -- Each week in our City Shaper's segment we highlight individuals and businesses that are part of Buffalo's renaissance. This week, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik visited a pizzeria in Bemus Point on Chautauqua Lake where a husband and wife are hoping to break into the Buffalo market with their tomato sauce.
The Andriaccios opened Coppola's Pizzaria in Bemus Point in 2008.
"Our little town was lacking a pizzeria, so him and his dad decided to try to put one up and that's how we ended up here," says Grace Andriaccio.
Both Chautauqua County natives, Grace and Luke bought an old clothing store and transformed it.
"Where this oven and cooking line is, there was dressing rooms and then there was a big retail display right here," says Luke Andriaccio as he gave us a tour.
Luke and his dad are business partners. The pizzeria is named after Luke's grandmother who came to the United States from Italy in the 1930s.
"I'm a third-generation pizza maker, but a first-generation sauce maker, so we're looking to expand on that and have my children be the second-generation sauce makers," says Luke.
Rather than open a second restaurant, they decided to distribute their sauce. It's based on an old family recipe from Luke's great-grandmother.
"My dad telling me the stories how she used to make the sauce Sundays, and the bread, and put the Italian flag over it, and say the blessing. It’s just all heritage that I look forward to," says Luke.
So far, the family has gotten the sauce into stores close by and in Jamestown, East Aurora, Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo's Lexington Co-op.
Now, they want to expand deeper into the Buffalo market all while running their restaurant and raising their two young sons.
"I work in the mornings, and he stays home with the kids, and then we switch, and I stay home, and he goes to work. So, that works out," says Grace.
"Kind of a tag, you're it," says Luke.
“He is basically making the sauce here in the evening or during the daytime when the shop is closed," says Grace.
Expanding their reach means teaming up with a partner who can make the sauce on a larger scale. Grace and Luke are on the hunt for a co-packer, but that company has to be able to pull off replicating the recipe perfectly.
"Is that fun trying the sauces, or is it also stressful because it has to really match your recipe?" asked Kelly.
"It has to be a match made in heaven to be able to make that sauce the same way. It's got to be packaged the same way. It's got to be developed the same way and distributed the same way," says Luke.
The couple's goal is to build a business they can pass on to their sons. Until then, they are more than willing to put in the long hours.
"He still has to deliver it, make the sauce, he delivers the sauce, he restocks the shelves once he delivers the sauce, and then comes back and goes to work here. And then he's Daddy in the morning," says Grace.
"It'll all pay off in the end," says Luke.
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