Tasty Tuesday: Papa’s Pizza brings top-notch pizza, traditional Italian recipes to the Roanoke Valley

Papa’s has become a family favorite in Salem after just three years of being open

SALEM, Va. – Thanksgiving is just days away. For those of us who need a break from cooking, we have just the place for you - Papa’s Pizza in Salem.

For Vincenzo De Giovanni, working in a restaurant is part of his identity.

He tells us, “It’s pretty much in the blood. When I was a kid, I was like, ‘I want to be like my dad.’”

He’d work side-by-side with his dad - a chef in Italy. More than a decade ago, De Giovanni moved to the states. It was in Henry County that he got his start.

“I worked at my father-in-law’s restaurant – the one in Bassett – for about 10 years. So, I learned the recipes there. Once I opened up here, I twisted around some of the recipes.”

Like Frank Sinatra, he does things his way. When it comes to the ingredients and the freshness of the food, he says, “I believe that either you do it right, or you don’t do it at all.”

That goes for the 15 different pizzas on the menu. The favorites are the Margherita, the Grandma pie and the BBQ Chicken.

On the Grandma Pie, the cheese goes first...then the sauce.

In addition to that, there are subs, golden brown garlic knots and a cold weather favorite. It just so happens to be a traditional dish in my family - the Pasta e Fagioli.

The way De Giovanni makes it is, “100 percent vegetarian with carrots, onions, celery, baked beans, extra virgin olive oil and some cheese.”

For as long as it’s cold, it’s on the menu - from a man whose American dream (like a pizza pie) has come full circle.

“Now, I’ve got my own restaurant, and it’s really good because you’d like to accomplish something in life.”

Their Tuesday special at Papa’s Pizza is a large, one-topping pizza when you call to order. The number is (540) 404-0024.

About the Author

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.

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