It’s always interesting asking local business operators how they ended up…
It’s a beautiful story of overcoming odds and adapting in tough times, and bringing friends and family together to build something special. Salvito’s Pizza Bar is a heartwarming tale of old-fashioned values where food is created with love and the focus is on getting things right. And with a staggering ‘100 out of 100′ 5-star Google Reviews, the response from customers says it all.
John is a charismatic and friendly character and like his predecessors, hardworking with a passion for his Italian culture and love of family.
Diverse in the skill set department, he was a corporate business consultant in the UK for most of his professional career, where he worked in more than 40 different countries before returning to New Zealand to invest in the tourism industry. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the borders were closed and with their international clientele cut off overnight, he had to think on his feet.
“I had to generate an income fast. I couldn’t see myself working for someone else, so I decided to fulfill a dream after thinking about the idea of running a pizza bar in Rome a few years earlier,” says John.
Salvito’s Pizza Bar has been open for just 18 months and the word is getting out there. The name ‘Salvitos’ is a blend of his two teenage sons’ names. Both Salvi and Vito are shareholders in the business and help out during university and school holidays. ‘I knew it would be a great way to stay connected with Salvi and Vito and develop their skills along the way.’ says John.
The extended family have pulled together to make this work. John’s 90+ year-old mother, Maria, enjoys doing her part in the kitchen and his partner Eva and cousins pull together to help out in the back. It’s a lot of work doing the prep, but there’s plenty of laughter and a feeling of old-fashioned togetherness. It’s been a real team effort from the start and a wonderful life experience.
“It’s our tradition to work together as a family, and you can see this in the pictures on the walls. Our Italian ancestors were some of the first settlers into the region and their involvement in the tomato growing industry became a cornerstone in the development of the region. There’s still a strong representation of Italians living in Nelson and families have stayed connected and continue to enjoy meeting up together. Keep an eye out for the Nelson Italian Festival on Sunday, 30th of October. Tickets are $12, and kids go free. We are excited to share our culture with the region.”
The Pizza names are derived from early settlers and friends. The Frank Monopoli Margherita was named after the Grandfather of the late Frank Monopoli, who was a well-known local and loved by the community.
“Frank was a dear friend to many people and is very sadly missed. Having a Pizza with his name on it is very special to us.”
“We use our family recipes to make our own pork sausage and frozen Lasagna and Cannelloni meal packages. Some ingredients are seasonal, like basil, so we blend them with olive oil, then freeze them in blocks which we can use all year round.”
Salvito’s Pizzas are world-class and feature imported Italian ingredients. Dedicated to absolute quality, they go to great lengths to keep things authentic.
“Our flour, cheese, and tomatoes are sourced from Italy and give our pizzas a genuine, authentic Italian flavour.”
“Our parmesan cheese starts off in a 35 kg’ wheel’ before it gets cut into 1kg blocks, then finally grated here on the premises to retain freshness and flavour.”
It’s inspiring to hear stories like this. Kiwis love innovation and combined with the Italian work ethic and tradition; it’s a winner!
Salvito’s Pizza Bar has a great website with an easy online ordering system. The shop is easy to find at 193 Hardy Street. Dine-in or takeaway. If you want to learn something about their history, support a local business and give your tastebuds a party… order yours today!
Located at 193 Hardy Street, Nelson. (Opposite Lambretta’s Cafe)
Open Wednesdays to Saturdays – Lunch from 11.30 am – 2.00 pm. Evenings from 5.30pm – 8.00pm.
Online orders are available for pick up – or home delivery through YUMMi.
Call 03 922 9869
Follow the journey www.facebook.com/Salvitospizzabar
Explore the virtual tour here.