All in the Family

Gio’s Pizza brings traditional Italian flavors to Anthem

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Born in Sicily and raised in New York, Onofrio Modica knows great pizza.

For five years, the Anthem resident has been sharing his family’s recipes through Gio’s Pizza, which boasts top-notch deep-dish, thin New York-style and Sicilian crust pies.

“I’ve been in the business for 47 years,” he says. “The secret to my success is experience, consistency and quality. I try to stick with the same recipe.”

Modica comes from a family of butchers, who branched off into the pizza business. He moved to Anthem after vacationing here, and soon opened an eatery in Scottsdale. When that closed, he worked in construction. His kids encouraged him to fall back into the family business.

The traditional pizzeria has a variety of round, thin, New York-style crust pies on its menu, ranging from napolitana (mozzarella and tomato sauce; $14.95 for a whole, 16 inch) to meat lovers (mozzarella, ground beef, bacon, sausage, pepperoni and ham; $29.95 for a whole, 16 inch).

A few of the same varieties are available in the 12-inch by 18-inch rectangular, thick, Sicilian-style crust for $17.95 to $21.95.

The stuffed pizzas serve six to eight people and come in ham, cheese and pepperoni; and potato, pepperoni and sausage. A whole pizza is $29.95.

“The dough is my family’s recipe,” he says. “Through all the years, you’ll always come up with different ideas.”

All selections are available in slices as well. Off the menu are interesting pizzas.

“We do make lasagna pizzas,” he says. “We make rigatoni pizza. When people request it, we make it. We have a lot of different types of pizzas that we don’t display. What we display is what sells constantly, all day long.”

Modica’s other specialties include rolls—meat sauce and spaghetti—and pepperoni, ham and ricotta pinwheels, and broccoli, spinach and ricotta pinwheels. Garlic knots, calzones and wings are on the menu, too.

He creates homemade chicken parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana and meatball parmigiana, as well as lasagna and baked rigatoni for those who are not in the mood for pizza.

Gio’s Pizza has a limited dining area, which was designed by Modica and fashioned after a New York pizzeria. He painted the restaurant and created the woodworking.

In April, Gio’s Pizza will celebrate its fifth anniversary with specials and discounts. Check its Facebook page for information at facebook.com/giospizzaanthem.

Modica, who also provides catering, is proud of his success.

“It’s like when you feed little babies. You have to make sure you’re there all the time. There are no shortcuts, and I’m nice to my customers. That’s most important.” 

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