2013 January: Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria celebrates 25 years in Bay Area

San Mateo, CA. — Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria (www.amicis.com), the company that introduced authentic thin-crust, East Coast-style pizza to the Bay Area, celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 29, 2012.

Founded by partners and East Coast natives Peter Cooperstein and Mike Forter, the first location on Third Avenue in San Mateo opened in 1987. Subsequent measured growth has been a deliberate strategy, designed to maintain the high standards of food quality and service that have become the Amici’s hallmark. Over the past two decades, the company has grown to 14 locations, including a dozen in the Bay Area and recent openings in La Jolla, California, and Shanghai, China. Current plans are focused on opening two additional Southern California sites.
Amici’s success is founded on staying true to the owners’ original vision of making the traditional thin-crust pizzas, fresh pastas and salads that are so popular in the Northeast’s Italian neighborhoods. “While we have added more pastas, salads and pizza toppings since 1987, our original pizza formulation – including our crust, homemade sauce and best whole-milk mozzarella – has never been changed or compromised, and each pizza is still cooked in a traditional open-flame brick oven at 700 degrees,” Cooperstein explains.

Though Amici’s restaurants continue to be popular with diners, over the years the takeout and delivery business has expanded to account for more than half of the company’s total sales, which Cooperstein attributes partially to its policy from day one to prepare and send only one delivery order at a time. The partners’ willingness to embrace new technology has led to annual double-digit growth in orders coming from online and mobile sources.

Both Forter and Cooperstein are quick to share credit for the company’s success with some key employees, most of whom began in entry-level positions, and some of whom have been with the company for 20 years or more, a rarity in an industry so prone to transitory staff. “Some of our best systems and innovations have been developed by dishwashers, servers and drivers who have contributed their hard work and ideas to our company. Our employees are the face of the restaurant,” Forter says.

In 25 years of directing a business that is annually regarded as the No.1 Independent Pizza Operation in the U.S. by industry publications, while acknowledging the contributions of his personnel, Cooperstein adamantly retains one responsibility. Asked who was responsible for the selection of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Brearley Collection artwork that distinguishes Amici’s surroundings, Cooperstein is quick and succinct: “It’s a committee of three: me, myself and I. They are the only decisions I get to make these days.”

In its 25 years, the company has baked 16.5 million pizzas, made more than 3 million deliveries and has used more than 9 million pounds of mozzarella.

For more information, visit amiciscorp.com.

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