ROANOKE, Va. – Lil’ Cucci’s opens its doors at a new location on Teresa Lane in Roanoke at 11 Tuesday morning. This comes after a long wait and some convincing from Maurizio and Shari Cucci’s daughter, Gioia.
“We don’t have customers. We have friends,” says owner, Maurizio Cucci.
Shari tells us, “The community is so excited about it, and that’s what we’re excited about is how excited they are.”
Over the past several months, the crew spent time carefully constructing an open concept to where, “When they come in, they see us.”
You get to see everything being made through a hole in the wall. Recipes passed over from Italy are made from scratch early in the morning when Maurizio gets in.
“Every morning when I come in, that’s the first thing I do is get the bread ready for lunch time.”
Once the dough and sauce are made to perfection, it’s go time!
We stepped back to see the highlights of the menu - from salads to pasta and meatballs to sandwiches to Sicilian and Grandma pizza pies.
Fresh cheese and toppings go on before being thrown into the oven, where everything is cooked evenly. Maurizio tells me you don’t want to get the “flop” in a pizza, but to have a little crunch on the bottom of the crust too.
Each item, whether it’s pizza, pasta or subs, is made with a common goal.
“The last bite is just as good as the first bite.”
I wanted to see if I had what it took to join this beloved team. Much like their kindness toward friends, they showed the same level of kindness to me as they taught me the art of what’s made the family a favorite in Virginia.
After giving my pizza a try, we polished things off with a delicious cannoli and a reminder of the legacy that continues to thrive in our corner of the Commonwealth. It all started with Maurizio’s late brother - Victor.
He tells us, “Without him bringing me over from Italy, I wouldn’t have had the chance to be able to come and make something of myself.”
The hope is for this installment of Lil’ Cucci’s to be passed onto the next generation. If all goes well, Maurizio says there could be another location in the future.