In 1989, a cool idea sprouted in Spring Hill. A dad and his son, Phil and John Pepitone, dreamt of opening a little pizza place at 10517 Spring Hill Drive. They decided to call it "PJ's Pizza Chicken and Ribs" using the first letters of their names, Phil and John. For eight years, they worked hard at their pizza shop. But one day, they decided it was time to sell it.
That's when my part of the story begins. I was 16 years old in June 1997, and my parents, Jerry and Cathy Zampella, wanted to "buy my dad a job." Back then, my dad sold copy machines for a company called Danka. He knew that his skills would be put to better use as a restaurant owner than a salesman. My father Jerry has always been a great cook and the most organized and hard working person I've ever known. His mother, Grace Zampella whose family immigrated from Bari Italy, taught him her family's recipes. The same recipes we use at Pj's Brick Oven Pizza still today.
My father did such a great job that the business started to grow. My mother was able to quit her job as a graphic designer to work full time at the pizza shop. Now that Jerry and Cathy were teamed up and working together in the business they outgrew that unairconditioned, 700 square foot spot.
In 2004 they broke ground on our new 2800 square foot building at 2144 Mariner Blvd. My parents are childhood friends with Richie Ferrara. For any pizza nerds out there, Richie's family owns Marsal and sons Pizza ovens. The absolute industry standard in gas fired brick ovens. The ovens are also manufactured in Lindenhurst, NY my parent's hometown. They dicided purchase 2 Marsal MB60 double stacks. You can cook 24 sixteen inch pizzas at the same time. With all this fire power they dicided to change the name from Pj's Pizza Chicken and Ribs to Pj's Brick Oven Pizza. Our new building was completed in 2005. In 2018 I officially took over operations from my parents Jerry and Cathy. I hope to continue to make my family proud and to continue to serve Hernando County. Our family is so grateful to have been a part of this community over the last 26 years.
In November of 2021 we opened up our second location at 13037 Cortez Blvd in brooksville. We hope to continue to serve Hernando County with delicious Italian food for at least another 26 years.Thank you to everyone who has supported us along this journey. Words cannot describe how proud we are to be a part of this community.
Jerry Zampella - Self Proclaimed Pizza Nerd