It's a year of 100th birthdays in the Mohawk Valley. First Union Station and then the Utica Zoo and now, yet another Utica landmark is celebrating its centennial birthday.
O'scugnizzo Pizzeria in East Utica has been serving their unique "upside down" pizza since 1914 and on Thursday the City honored their 100th year in business.
It all started with tomato pie that cost just a nickel back in 1914. Now, O'scugnizzo Pizzeria is celebrating its 100th year in business, a day of pride not just for the City but for a family of three generations carrying on the O'scugnizzo tradition.
"100 years in business, my grandfather, I don't think would ever have conceived that this would happen and I’m sure my dad had plans but unfortunately he was taken from us very young but I think they would both be very proud,” said Mike Burline, Co-owner of O’scugnizzo.
O'scugnizzio was started by Eugeno Burlino who moved to East Utica from Naples, Italy. 100 years later, the pizza is exactly the same.
"We keep everything as it was,” says Burline.
"Just keeping it the same, the consistency, people come in the door, they know what they want, they want a large eight or a small eight and they're going to get it,” said Mike’s brother and Owner Steven Burline.
For some the celebration was a chance to reminisce on the good old days in East Utica.
"Growing up in East Utica, this is where you came as you were growing up to have a pizza, I remember after the Proctor dances myself and my wife now Barbara, we used to come here after the dances and we used to have a slice of pizza. I remember for 75 cents you could get a whole pizza and something to drink,” said Jack Lomedico who grew up in East Utica.
A lot has certainly changed over the years. O'scugnizzo now has two locations in Utica and they ship their pizzas all across the country but one thing seems to stay the same, people have a tough time pronouncing their name.
"Ah-sca-neets, they just kill it, oh-sca-nizzos,” says Steven Burline.
"Oh-sca-nooze, you know just whatever, people just kind of look at it and say 'ok close enough,” said Mike Burline.
The name is O'scugnizzo and the Burline family says you'll be seeing it on the sign for the next 100 years.
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