Dustin Ghizzoni had had in the back of his mind for some time the idea of opening a takeout pizza shop in Brookfield.
“I didn’t have the infrastructure in place and that would have cost more money than I was comfortable just gambling,” he said, speaking of kitchen equipment and other essentials.
But, now that he has bought Papa Louie’s Italian Kitchen, 7172 Warren Sharon Road, he has sort of realized that dream anyway.
Ghizzoni bought the business from Irene Delung and has been renovating the building, including taking down architectural barriers to open up space and adding a beer-tap system. He recently renamed the restaurant and bar Jimmy Neno’s after his father, Jim Ghizzoni, who died in 2019, and his father’s friend, Neno Perrotta, who died in May.
Ghizzoni, 41, owns Vienna Laundromat and WaterDrop Media, but has experience in food service, having worked as a short-order cook for Yankee Lake Kitchen and at Boston Market and McDonald’s franchises.
Many of Delung’s recipes will remain – she has been helping with the transition – and Ghizzoni is adding more pizza options and American comfort food, such as burgers. He also is reviewing recipes from his wife, Daniela’s, first-generation Italian family, which could be added to the menu.
Jimmy Neno’s is hosting DJ Syd on Thursdays, and Ghizzoni said he plans to add live bands and is considering other entertainment options, such as karaoke and trivia nights.
“When this came about, I thought, I don’t want to see another business in the community go away, or get relocated or have another abandoned building,” Ghizzoni said.
Taking over shortly after La Palma Family Restaurant, which serves Mexican food, opened just up the street from Jimmy Neno’s, Ghizzoni said he doesn’t see them as competing.
“We need more restaurants,” he said. “We need more of anything that will draw people into the town because then they get used to coming into Brookfield, which is what we need. If there’s only one restaurant – people aren’t gonna come into Brookfield to eat at one place, generally speaking.”
“I’m very excited about the movement forward with the other places and I’m hoping it just continues,” Ghizzoni said. “I’m very welcoming of the other places.”
“I guess what I’m trying to do is improve the community, more than – I can tell you after five months of this, this isn’t about money,” he said. “It’s about trying to make a good, nice place that people in the town can come to and feel good about and then tell their friends.”
Jimmy Neno’s shows Ghizzoni’s devotion to Brookfield, the town where he was born, raised and still lives.
“This town deserves something good, and it’s not gonna come from outside because anybody from outside knows that they can go to another town with more money, more population, more road traffic and they can make money,” Ghizzoni said. “An outsider, more than likely, is not gonna take a chance on Brookfield. I feel it in me that we need to build from within, to some extent, and then hope that an outsider will see what we have got going and then come in.”
“I’m proud that I’m at least attempting it in the town.”
Hours are takeout from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dine in and bar 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; and bar 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
The Delung family has sold Papa Louie’s Italian Kitchen in Brookfield to Dustin Ghizzoni.
The Delungs owned the business for 32 years.
“The last year has been a very emotional year for the family and sometimes future plans don’t go as planned,” owner Irene Delung said in an Aug. 13 Facebook post. “It is with much sadness and tears but this is the right thing to do and it will be beneficial for the business.”
Eric Delung, son of Irene Delung, was critically injured in a motorcycle-car crash Sept. 10, 2022, on Warren Sharon Road at Bedford Road, just west of the restaurant.
The driver of the car was found to be at fault by Ohio Highway Patrol. Delung was driving the motorcycle.
Eric Delung’s wife, Becky, said in an Aug. 14 Facebook post that her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the crash.
“You all have become friends and some like family,” she said. “He misses the everyday conversations. You all watched our kids grow up and start families. Plus, all the fun band nights. One of his favorite memories is the after party for the wild game dinner.”
Ghizzoni has been working with Irene Delung and will “put as much love into the orders as Eric and I have over the 32 years,” Irene Delung said. “Don’t worry as he has all the recipes and knows how to make them. You will still see me for a while as I help Dustin Ghizzoni out.”
“I and Eric and Becky and my entire family are forever grateful for the lifelong friends we have made in these 32 years,” Irene Delung said. “We will miss the most is talking and chatting and serving all our great customers.
“Papa Louie’s has been my family’s second home. My grandchildren have grown up here as we have witnessed other families grow also. We have great memories that we will always love.”
Irene Delung asked the community to support Ghizzoni.