The Pizza King of Rogers Park
Nestled in Roger’s Park, one of the densest and most diverse neighborhoods on the northernmost end of Chicago, is the neighborhood pizzeria J.B. Alberto’s Pizza. This unassuming little pizza shop has been churning out Chicago style pizza for 45 years. J.B. Alberto’s was founded in 1965 and is currently owned and operated by Tony Troiano who bought the pizzeria in 1978. Most pizzeria owners usually have a unique story about how they got into the pizza business, but Tony’s is a real American dream come true. Faced with his family considering moving back to Italy from where they emigrated from, Tony decided to purchase J.B. Alberto’s Pizza in 1978 with the help of his family when he was just 15 years old!
In an age where wood-fired, Neapolitan, high end sit down pizzerias are getting all the fame and coverage in the news – this delivery and carryout only pizzeria is blowing the doors off of most pizzerias in the United States. From the outside, this pizza shop appears to be just a neighborhood pizza joint, but step behind the counter, and you will see an entirely different reality. J.B. Alberto’s may easily be one of the busiest pizzerias in the nation. You can easily find 20, 25, and even 30 delivery drivers on the road at any given time and you will see six to eight dedicated order takers manning their POS stations at a permanent phone bank adjacent to the kitchen.
All three of the famous styles of Chicago pizza are served at J.B. Alberto’s – Thin, Stuffed, and Deep Dish, with the thin crust being the hands-down biggest seller. Pizzas are cooked in old-school Middleby Marshall bakery ovens; the carousel kind, not the conveyor kind. Dual pizzas lines in the kitchen are used on busy nights, which tend to be almost every night, and dinners consisting of steak, seafood, and pasta are cooked on a full kitchen line around the corner from the pizza kitchen.
With daily sales volume on par with what some pizzerias do in an entire week, Tony places his success firmly on what we have identified as four cornerstones.
Cornerstone #1: Community Involvement
Troiano spreads his community involvement around to as many local organizations as he can, understanding the need to be a living breathing part of the community. “We have a special bond with this community” explains Tony, “Whenever there is a need we try and fill it, and I think the community has responded by supporting us in return.”