When a new pizzeria opens in South Buffalo, word travels fast. Residents are anxious to try it and scrupulously compare it to their legendary favorites.
Kenny Lombardo and Bob Garey are hoping their new pizzeria, LombarDough’s Pizza & Pasta, will be a longtime favorite. Located at 615 Hopkins St., the pizzeria is the latest addition to an area where nearby businesses like the new Tesla solar panel factory and Parker's are filling out the once vacant landscape on South Park Avenue.
Garey, who has 20 years of experience in the pizzeria industry, manages the new pizzeria and sat down to talk pizza, steak subs and the importance of fresh ingredients.
Question: South Buffalo is very particular when it comes to pizza. How do you plan to break into the market?
Answer: It’s a great neighborhood and the people are great. I know what potential is in this area. My family owns Blasdell Pizza and I had the store on Seneca Street for years. I split from the family three years ago and I opened a pizzeria in Cheektowaga. Then Kenny asked me to partner over here.
Q: So what sets LombarDough’s apart?
A: We have an 18-inch pizza, not 16-inch like everyone else. We wanted to be different and put our product out there for the same money, if not less.
Q: And how is your recipe unique?
A: Back in the day, places like Nino’s, Blasdell, Abbott, Carbone’s – they all started with basically the same recipe. I try to go away from the traditional and what everyone knows. My dough is a little different. We do use Sorrento cheese, Margherita pepperoni, Costanzo’s rolls, Sunset Produce on Bailey - we support local businesses. And our food is fresh.
Every day we open, everything is fresh that day. A lot of people will make dough in advance. If I want to eat it, I want the best product I could possibly have. I don’t want something that’s been sitting there for days.
Q: How would you describe biting into a slice at LombarDough’s?
A: A lot of people describe it as biting into a fresh sub roll. You get a fresh, nice bite like when you’re baking fresh sub rolls. We’re doing the same thing.
Q: How do you try to keep prices affordable?
A: There’s a big market in South Buffalo for steak subs and our special right now is $7.99 for any whole steak sub. It could be $10 or $11 everywhere else. We have pizza night on Wednesday and Sunday when a large pizza with one topping is $12.99.
Q: Do you get a lot of customers dining in?
A: A lot of people are coming in. We have clients from Cheektowaga, Lake View, Buffalo General. We have seating for 25 people. We also have takeout and delivery, seven days a week.
Q: How difficult was it to renovate an old bar to create the pizzeria?
A: It was Coach’s and Susie’s. It turned over several times. It took two years trying to get everything up to code and make sure the equipment is placed right. It took a lot of time and a lot of work. We did a lot of updates and have new windows and new lights – the place looks beautiful.
Q: Does that make you feel like you’re making a difference in the community?
A: I strongly do believe we are. With Solar City and Tesla and a bar in the works on the other side of Hopkins, I strongly believe the area is going to boom again. Small businesses like us will bring South Buffalo back to life.
What they’re doing on Seneca Street, we can try to do over here. I’d like to see a few more places over here.
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