November 1, 2017 |

Conversation: Mike Colella, Brooklyn M.C. Pizzeria, CO

By Pizza Today


Mike Colella (left) follows in the footsteps of his parents, Esther (center) and Michael (right) Colella as a second-generation operator of 20-year-old Brooklyn M.C. Pizzeria.

 

Brooklyn M.C. Pizzeria

Littleton, CO

When we decided to open Brooklyn M.C.’s Pizzeria in 1997, the goal was to serve thin-crust, East Coast pizza, along with other fresh-to-order authentic Italian cuisine. The food is important, but even more so is that familiar face behind the counter, whether it is my dad (Michael), mom (Esther) or me (Mike); one of us or all of us are there. Located in Littleton, Colorado, where restaurant chains are very popular, we had the challenge of educating people on why our food was special. Slowly but surely, people turned into customers who became part of the family. Customers became loyal customers because we genuinely take an interest in them; meaning we know their name, what they will order and where they vacationed.   

Brooklyn M.C.’s has been in operation for 20 years, which is a big accomplishment for my family. However, we owe this to my dad who had a vision and decided to run with it. His sister, Silvia, and her husband, Rico (who also own a pizzeria), played an important role in helping my dad learn the business. Starting a business is hard work, which takes an endless amount of tenacity. I watched my dad put in long hours, including the grunt work like washing dishes and mopping floors. He continued to persevere through the ups and downs of running a business. In the beginning, since hiring employees was not an option, my dad would call on my sister, my mom and me to help him out during the busy lunch and dinner rush. Eventually, word of mouth helped our little family mom and pop business become noticed. When you walk into the pizzeria you are greeted by the most amazing smell! The walls are red and covered in décor of photos of New York and other memorabilia. The action is up front, so you can watch the dough being flipped in the air and food going in and out of the ovens.

I am honored to be following my dad as a second-generation operator. When we moved to Colorado in ’94, there was no talk of opening a pizzeria. My dad had always been self-employed, so working for someone else was not an option. However, my dad knew he had to do something to provide for his family. When the opportunity presented itself to take over a deli shop (that was going out of business) that had some of the main pieces of equipment needed to open a pizzeria, my dad didn’t think twice. I admire him because he took on a huge risk that did not have a guarantee of being successful. My parents always pushed forward to make the business what it is today. And when they are ready to retire, I look forward to continuing the legacy. I am thankful that my dad taught me an endless amount of lessons over the past 20 years. I think the most significant takeaway is that consistency is key…consistency with the recipes as well as how the food is prepared. Consistency is what brings your customers back.

 

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