Revello’s Cafe-Pizza: Pizza in garment boxes sets this business apart

By Gene Axton - For Sunday Dispatch
Revello’s Cafe-Pizza Restaurant at 502 S. Main St., Old Forge was established in 1967. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Brea Evans takes a pizza out of the oven in the kitchen at Revello’s. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Mario Monacelli pours a draft beer at Revello’s bar. - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
Gary Violanti and Joan Stella, of Blakesly, are frequent customers at Revello’s. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch
One of two dining rooms at Revello’s whose walls are lined with memorabilia. - - Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

OLD FORGE — Since 1967, Revello’s has placed its takeout pizza in department store garment boxes.

Pat Revello, 54, co-owner of the family business, said the attention to presentation is part of the pizzeria’s identity.

“We could easily go with a pizza box,” Pat said. “But I feel like the garment box is more traditional and sets us apart from a lot of the pizza places.”

To uphold that tradition, Revello becomes a prospector of sorts.

“You know, when you go into Boscov’s and ask for those boxes, they’re like gold,” he said.

Tradition is a virtue for Revello. He takes pride in Revello’s adherence to its original recipe, despite the rising cost of ingredients; he loves hearing customers’ stories of getting engaged or attending parties at the restaurant’s 502 S. Main St., Old Forge location, and he is proud he was raised among what he calls the pizza families of Old Forge.

“There was a lot of me sleeping in booths, being raised by waitresses and that was my life,” he said. “Just like a lot of other businesses owners in Old Forge who were raised and lived above their restaurant. That’s really something you can’t say about the franchises anymore. We’d do our homework downstairs at a booth or at the bar, help out a little and, when it was time to go to bed, you’d go up the steps. That’s pizza life in Old Forge.”

For Revello, pizza life followed him through childhood to a stint at Lackawanna College, where he pursued a degree in business administration while working mornings at the family restaurant. Today, he uses that degree to manage Revello’s five other locations: Kingston, Drums, at PNC Field in Moosic, inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township and at Scranton’s Steamtown Mall.

Revello ikes having multiple locations because it helps introduce his pizza to more potential customers. He also thinks it’s what his father, Joe, who passed away in 1977, would have wanted.

“I think when he opened this business, I don’t think he just wanted one business,” Revello said. “I think the more you put the name out there, as long as you keep up with the quality of the food and keep the recipe the same, it’ll work out. I think my father would be proud there’s more than one location.”

Back in Old Forge, Revello’s 87-year-old mother Delores still keeps tabs on the family business.

“She comes down maybe five to six times a week, sits down and makes sure everyone’s doing their job how she wants it done,” Revello said. “It keeps her going; she loves doing it.”

Old Forge resident and part-time Revello’s baker Dean Nalaschi, 19, said the atmosphere of the restaurant makes its employees feel like family, too.

“They make you feel like Revello’s is your second home,” he said. “When we’re here, they’re really not on our backs; they talk to us like we’re their kids because I feel like they appreciate us and what we do.”

Revello said that feeling of family extends to the other pizza families in Old Forge.

“All the restaurant owners are best friends,” he said. “We travel together, we go to Super Bowls together, we have coffee together. We borrow off each other just like a friendly neighbor as far as sugar, boxes, yeast, everything, and just about everybody has a key to everybody’s cooler and is welcome to use it anytime.”

Revello’s wife Heather and their three young children aren’t exempt from the rules of pizza life, either.

“My wife, she works just about every day at one of our locations,” Revello said. “Our three kids, I don’t know if I want them in today’s restaurant business, but when it’s time to do something, they have to come for a ride with us and do this and that. They seem to like it.”

For Revello, tradition is what keeps his business special, but it’s also what keeps him growing Revello’s regional footprint, keeps him ingrained in a community of pizza families and keeps him adding more individuals to Revello’s own pizza family tree.

“That’s the only life I knew growing up,” he said. “It’s life today.”

Revello’s Cafe-Pizza Restaurant at 502 S. Main St., Old Forge was established in 1967.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Revellos1.jpgRevello’s Cafe-Pizza Restaurant at 502 S. Main St., Old Forge was established in 1967. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Brea Evans takes a pizza out of the oven in the kitchen at Revello’s.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Revellos2.jpgBrea Evans takes a pizza out of the oven in the kitchen at Revello’s. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Mario Monacelli pours a draft beer at Revello’s bar.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Revellos3.jpgMario Monacelli pours a draft beer at Revello’s bar. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

Gary Violanti and Joan Stella, of Blakesly, are frequent customers at Revello’s.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Revellos4.jpgGary Violanti and Joan Stella, of Blakesly, are frequent customers at Revello’s. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

One of two dining rooms at Revello’s whose walls are lined with memorabilia.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/web1_Revellos5.jpgOne of two dining rooms at Revello’s whose walls are lined with memorabilia. Tony Callaio | For Sunday Dispatch

By Gene Axton

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.