Friday, September 30, 2022

Employee-owned pizza shop opens on W. Utica

Bridget Murphy boxes a pizza for a waiting customer.


Co-owner Joey Pucciarelli checks on a pizza in the oven.

A first-of-its-kind restaurant has opened at 549 W. Utica St., though it’s serving up a familiar dish: pizza pies and slices. So, what makes Extra Extra Pizza unique, then? Not only does it have a wine bar and is cooperatively owned by Joey Pucciarelli, Bridget Murphy, and Soon Ho Sim – it is tipless. That’s right, tips are not asked of the customer as the ownership group decided to buck the trend of the American restaurant business, in order to ensure its workers a steady wage. “In our minds, the people should be the focus – we should center the experience around the workers, because if we’re happy, then we will be able to create a better experience (for the customer),” Murphy said. The ownership group also feels that incentivizing its workers is key, otherwise they will have little to work toward and have less respect for their job. That is why there is a path to co-ownership for those who work at the restaurant for 18 months, if they so desire. “There are milestones to hit along the way. All of us have completed Cooperation Buffalo’s Cooperative Academy, and since we are a co-op, everyone here will have to take that course,” Pucciarelli said.The restaurant is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5-10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from noon-10 p.m. By Jason Guth and Kyle Wekenmann