COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "Most of our clientele we know by name. They're more like family," says Frank Ippolito, the manager of Peluso's Italian Restaurant in Columbus.
It may not be Cheers, but Peluso's has been dishing up some of Italy's favorite dishes here in Columbus for over forty years -- plenty of time to get to know everyone's name -- and then some.
"It's kind of neat because we've had a number of people that brought their children in here, and we've seen their children grow up and now we're watching them bring their children in here and that's really cool," he added.
And when you start measuring the time customers have been stopping by in terms of decades, you know they're doing something right! Eugene Malone is a resident of Seale, Alabama, but he's been a regular at this Columbus landmark.
"I've been eating here for thirty plus years," he says.
Mona Sellers loves the location and the fact they get you in and out quickly.
"Well, I've been coming here to Peluso's for over ten years, meeting girlfriends, they have the best pizza in town," she says.
That's some very high praise -- but, we found a customer that took it a step further.
"It is, the best pizza in the world. I love it. And we've been coming here for probably twenty years," says Nicole Diamante, dining this day with her daughter.
So what is it that keeps people coming back? For one, you can't beat the atmosphere --- friendly service and an open kitchen where you can see the care that goes in to preparing your order. If you're looking to get away from the crowd, head back to the 'Coach's Room', filled with football memorabilia from all over the southeast. And, there's something definitely 'homemade' about this bit of hometown flavor.
"We make our own dough everyday, our spaghetti and pizza sauces are many, many years old as far as the recipes are concerned, and we try to keep that consistency every day," Ippolito told us.
And with a last name like Ippolito, you know they have to do more than just pizza.
"We do everything from manicotti to tortellini, to fetching. We've got red sauce and alfredo, we've got chicken dishes, and everyone's got their own favorite," he says.
Favorites that he hopes people will be enjoying for quite some time.
"I am pretty much just the holder of this institution at this point. this place is a lot bigger than me or anyone who works here. We've been in this market many, many, years, and I'm sure when I go over the hill, someone else will be in charge of it after me," he says.
Peluso's is located at:
4519 Woodruff Road (in the shopping center across from St. Francis)
Columbus, GA 31904
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