A Labor of Love, A Proud Heritage, A Commitment to Quality
JT’s Pizza & Spirits was founded in June of 1975 by Joe Cucinella and Tom Hudley (“J and T”…you always wondered, didn’t you?), in the tiny location on the west end of our current building. The business they purchased, right next door to the old “Majik Market”, was called “Da Besta Pizza”, and featured 100 ft of prime 28th street frontage, and 200 square feet of business space.
The “Depot” name came from a desire to decorate the restaurant in a train motif, which was prevalent in all of our locations in the early days.
By the end of that first year, Tom decided to head in a different direction professionally. Joe bought out Tom’s share and has solely owned JTs Pizza & Spirits ever since. His comment at the time was that he needed a job and bought one for himself! Joe and his wife Becky were newlyweds in 1975, too, and he and Becky set out to build the business as a true labor of love, and a family enterprise.
Joe’s Mom and Dad have been involved in the business, too. In those days, it was in Joe Sr. and Fran’s kitchen where the pasta dishes and fabulous meatballs were hand-crafted, a tradition which remains today. Meanwhile, young Joe was very busy working the pizza ovens, making the dough every day, hand-tossing pizzas and making every sub and pasta dinner by hand. He also had a profound commitment to making everything from scratch, including JT’s own signature pizza and pasta sauces, and our special, homemade, Italian sausage, featuring a very special taste that is not to be missed! Today, we still make the sausage from scratch using only the finest and freshest cuts of pork, and our own secret blend of spices and seasonings. The bottom line is that JT’s has always been a “labor of love” for the Cucinella family.
During the mid 1970s to late 1980s, the pizza industry underwent several important changes. The biggest such change was the advent of national “pizza chains”, with their low-cost ingredients, huge commissaries churning out mass market ingredients, and 2-for-1 pizza price specials. As these establishments took hold, they overcame many of the family-owned, single location pizzerias at the time, as the small family business owners fell to the pressure of low-price, low quality ingredients, while trying to match the “deals”. JT’s overcame the pressure and continued to produce the quality of pizza with their commitment to making everything from scratch.
The business continues to grow and prosper each year, and the next generation of the Cucinella family is now involved in the enterprise. One thing hasn’t changed, and never will…The strong dedication to quality, family recipes and friendly service.