Joseph E. Todaro, founder of La Nova Pizzeria in Buffalo, New York, died Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst, New York. Mr. Todaro was 89.
Todaro, who lived in the Town of Tonawanda in upstate New York and spent his winters in Florida, founded La Nova Pizzeria in 1957. The small pizza shop on the West side of Buffalo eventually flourished into what is now one of the nation’s largest and most successful independent pizzerias. In 2012, La Nova ranked 16th on Pizza Today’s annual “Hot 100 Independents” listing. The company’s two stores recorded $8 million in sales last year.
A mainstay on the International Pizza Expo show floor for decades, Todaro eventually turned the operation of his pizzeria over to his son, Joseph, Jr. and grandson, Joseph III. Joseph Todaro III — “Joey” — introduced Buffalo wings to the pizza industry on a large scale at International Pizza Expo in the 1990s, and today La Nova Wings is one of the industry’s largest purveyors.