When Joe Aurelio, whose father founded Aurelio’s in 1959 using an old family recipe, talks about their success, he focuses on how they became part of the community where they’re located.
Sure, the family was able to transform a small pizzeria on Ridge Road in Homewood into the 5th oldest pizza chain in the United States, but to Aurelio it’s all about connections and continuity.
But tradition doesn’t mean stuck.
“In the old days when we first opened, people thought it wasn’t good to put raw sausage on a pizza, so they precooked it,” he says. “My dad tweaked that, using fresh homemade sausage which makes a big difference—it’s not cooked twice and the flavor is better.”
Aurelio’s is now serving the fifth generation of families and some of their employees have worked there for 40 years or more.
“We give back to the community, we’ve stayed the same—we make our own sausage, which we deliver to our 41 restaurants so it’s all quality—no fillers, and we do the same with our sauce and we don’t skimp on the product,” he says. “We’re not here just to take your money and give you a pizza; people come here for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations, so they become part of Aurelio’s and we become part of their lives.”
Tomato Bar Pizza Bakery
Locations: 79 U.S. 41, Schererville; 2310 LaPorte Ave., Ste. 100, Valparaiso
Phone: 219-322-3885 (Schererville), 219-462-7499 (Valparaiso)