The History of Zappi's

A Bit About The Owner:

Every day, long before the sun rises, Al Zappitelli arrives at work at 5:30 a.m. He rolls up his sleeves and gets to work, chopping up fresh vegetables, getting his Niagara Falls restaurant’s signature sauce simmering, and prepping for his cooks who will arrive at 11 a.m.
They're long days, involving hard work, but the second-generation restauranteur wouldn't have it any other way.

“I love it; I love my job,” said the owner of Zappi’s Pizza and Pasta, a name that for generations of locals and tourists, has conjured up images of hearth-baked pizzas and Italian dishes, such as chicken and veal parmigiana and eggplant lasagna. 

Authentic Italian Food 50 Years in the Making!

From left to right: Veal Parmagiana, Buffalo Chicken Pizza, 
Penne Pasta with Homestyle Tomato Sauce

“It’s all homemade, and homemade takes time,” said Zappitelli.

The Beginning of a Niagara Institution:

A half century ago, in 1971, his parents Tony and Connie Zappitelli opened the first Zappi’s as a takeout shop on Dunn Street at Drummond Road.

“They opened it in the garage of our house,” said Zappitelli.

Eventually, it was expanded to have a small dining room, then expanded again with a larger dining room, then a party room was added.

His parents bought what is today the Casa Mia Ristorante in Stamford Centre, moved Zappi’s to what is now Mick and Angelo’s on Lundy’s Lane, then bought the Napoli restaurant on Stanley Avenue, and expanded to restaurant locations in Welland and Ridgeway.

In 1986, they sold their restaurant empire to a businessperson, and Tony became a developer.

Zappitelli, who grew up working in his parents’ restaurant kitchens, said locals and tourists alike continually approached his parents to tell them how much they missed the food and the memories they had eating at Zappi’s. That, plus the potential he saw in what would become the booming Fallsview tourist district, led Zappitelli to revive the name when he opened Zappi’s Pizza and Pasta at 6663 Stanley Ave. in 2002.

“There was only one hotel then,” he said. “There were ditches on the road.”

The day that he opened, the city announced a major reconstruction of Stanley Avenue. “It shut me down for almost a year,” said Zappitelli. “It almost broke me, but we watched everything grow around us.”

Zappi's is All About Community.

While the restaurant naturally caters to many tourists, being in an upscale tourist district, Zappitelli makes a point of emphasizing local patrons, too.

“We really, really stayed with the community as much as we could,” he said. My base was always community.”

“We could easily turn into a tourist restaurant, but locals are year-round; they’re your bread and butter,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see the locals and tourists react with each other. I love the people.”

Come Visit Us!

Zappi’s boasts a fun family atmosphere, plenty of space for all the kids, and great pizza pies. Zappi’s famous pizzas are loaded with sauce and cheese and generously sprinkled with toppings. They also serve classic Italian dishes such as calzones, a variety of pasta dishes and delicious subs.

(Writing credit: Reporter Paul Forsyth, as published in the Niagara Falls Review, with short excerpt from website


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