Fratelli’s is relocating a few miles down Main Street with a Grayson address, but still, inside Snellville city limits with the same delicious Italian food people from far and wide have come to love. Fratelli’s new location as of April 17 is, 1711 Athens Highway, Grayson, GA 30017 and offers the same taste but in a “fancier, but simple” location, say, Doris Zaino. Zaino and her business partner, Danny Gomez, are the proud owners of Fratelli’s Pizza.
Fratelli’s has a reputation for offering the “absolute best pizza” says friends, Richard Myers and Arthur Brown, both of Snellville who have been frequenting the restaurant since it opened four years ago and who will be traveling to the new location.
With a menu packed with authentic Italian cuisine including everything from pizza, pasta, salads, and wings, customers coming from all over metro Atlanta have made Fratelli’s NY Pizza and Restuarant a destination dining spot.
According to Zaino, Fratelli’s has grown tremendously over the last four years, but especially within the last year. “The first two years were very hard because of the building’s previous reputation and just trying to make a name that no one knew.” Now, it’s a different story. “Nights and weekends are our busiest times, but especially the weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sundays,” she added. About 75% of their customers are from northern cities like New York and Boston, where pizza reigns supreme, but the rest are a mix of people from Gwinnett County. The pizza and the plates of pasta are the favorites among diners with Fratelli’s Favorite as their best seller says Zaino.
Solange Destang, of Snellville, says the Baked Ziti with its creamy texture and good portion size is what brings her back again and again.
In addition to a few new menu items like healthier food options and weekly specials, Fratelli’s will also have a full bar and private seating area that seats between 50-70 people, ideal for parties and celebrations like you find in restaurants in Buckhead or downtown. Although the new location will offer some new features, Zaino is adamant they want to maintain their family friendly environment the community has grown to love. In addition, they will continue to cater menu favorites like baked ziti, chicken marsala and of course, pizza.
Deck’s Entertainment Poker League has been meeting at Fratelli’s on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for several years but according to the president, Mike Long of Snellville, their meeting days will change in the new location to Sunday and Wednesday nights. “They [Danny and Doris] are great people, and they will fix you anything you want”; but it’s the House Delight Salad that’s his favorite menu item.
Danny, who is also the chef, started working in a pizza restaurant when he was just 13 years old. The irony of this story is Danny and Doris are both of Hispanic descent; Danny is from Peru and Doris is from El Salvador. They share the responsibility of creating Italian recipes using premium ingredients. “I married into an Italian family, and I learned about Italian food from my mother-in-law,” said Doris.
“In the beginning, it was the taste of our food that would change people’s minds and word of mouth advertising because we did not have money for advertisements,” said Danny. It took a lot of perseverance and hard work to survive the early days, hoping each day would be The Day, he adds. “I know they like the taste of our food and we have some loyal customers that come here every day. If we get a bad review on a website, we don’t have to say a word because our customers defend us,” said Zaino.
“If you have a dream and you don’t give up on it, you succeed. You have to go into this business knowing you are not going to make any money. For a long time, we did not get a salary, and it was rough, but we never changed any recipes. We didn’t change anything,” Danny said. “One of the first things people do when their business is not going well, is they start buying everything cheap. When you start taking away it’s not to your standards, and that is what has helped us maintain and keep going,” he added.
Danny says he is looking forward to the new location, but he too wants to maintain the family-friendly atmosphere. “I just want to be the jewel of the town. You don’t have to go to Buckhead to get some fine dining. I want to be the place where everybody wants to come, and I want people to wonder why are the people in Snellville the lucky ones.”