Giovanni “John” Attardi has been making pizza and Italian food since he was 10 years old and learned the craft from his father, who hailed from Napoli, Italy, and his mother, born in Sicily.
Attardi brings a lifetime and generational expertise to Bradenton. Giovanni’s Brooklyn Pizzeria is located at 5203 Cortez Road W. and opened a few weeks ago.
“In our first two weeks, more than 1,200 pies went out the door,” Attardi said.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because he once owned Attardi’s Pizzeria on State Road 70 but sold that location last year to open his new place.
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“It’s close to the house and, of course, this is a very, very busy road,” he said.
Attardi’s parents owned two Giovanni’s Pizzerias in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn. They immigrated from Italy in the 1960s and opened their first pizzeria in 1972.
“I learned under my father,” Attardi said. “From the age of 10, I learned from working with and watching my father and my mother in the kitchen.”
The family moved to Florida around 2000, when they opened an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Arcadia, which thrived until the elder Attardi retired in 2008.
Attardi himself semi-retired from the business and went to work elsewhere, but he couldn’t resist the calling to return to the business he loves.
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “It’s the only thing I know how to do.”
Attardi said what separates himself from other pizza places is, “We do everything fresh the old fashioned way. We make our dough fresh three times a day and use 100 percent pure mozzarella cheese. We make our pasta and pizza sauces from scratch and it cooks up to three hours before we can even use it to blend it all in.
“Our sausages are made fresh, as well as our meatballs, which have 10 ingredients in them. They bake in the oven and then go into the sauce to finish cooking.”
And they are huge, which is why Attardi proudly exclaims that Giovanni’s Brooklyn Pizzeria is home to the “Giant meatball sub.”
Attardi also said he only orders authentic Italian Ice, directly from his distributor in Brooklyn.
“Everything here is authentic Italian,” he said. “And we only bake our pizzas on brick and use the best ovens ever made because they put out the best crust. People tell me all the time that they have been disappointed at other places saying they serve New York pizza until they eat here and say it’s like being back in Brooklyn.”