First Hill’s Italian Family Pizza has new ownership — but is staying in the family

Italian Family Pizza has new ownership but the First Hill joint is staying in the family.

Owner Steve Calozzi tells CHS he is moving back to the East Coast but will remain a partner and a big part of the pizza shop at Madison and Boren.

“We did build this up from nothing,” Calozzi told CHS Thursday morning. “We’re headed back to Philly. I never wanted to sell it.”

The new partnership pairs the Calozzis with investors who will own a majority of the restaurant and be responsible for its operation. It won’t be easy to step away. “You get to know people and they become your friends,” Calozzi said of his customers.

In 2016, Steve and Jennifer Calozzi moved their popular restaurant from 1st Ave to First Hill to make way for demolition and development downtown. Atelier Drome transformed the former Madison at Boren check cashing outlet into a workaday pizza joint where the Calozzis served up giant East Coast-style pies — and plenty of East Coast attitude. In 2016, the family’s struggles with street crime, homeless, and the addiction problem around First Hill’s methadone clinics became news.

Steve Calozzi tells CHS his family was able to find its footing on First Hill thanks to East Coast swagger. “In protecting our corner, we did it in a different manner. Then word got around we don’t take shit.”

Italian Family Pizza is located at 1028 Madison. You can learn more on its Facebook page.


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15 thoughts on “First Hill’s Italian Family Pizza has new ownership — but is staying in the family

  1. I love this place. I am sorry that they have to literally fight off the junkies in front of their business. It is going to be a nightmare for small businesses on Capitol Hill if the city dumps a safe consumption site in the neighborhood. People are fed up with the homeless, junkie shitshow. We need to push back to make sure we don’t end up as the neighborhood host for this experiment. Email council and the mayor.

    • But since Fam Pizza is on 1st hill wouldn’t a consumption site on Capitol Hill draw the junkies away?

      Or perhaps it’s the blood bank and methadone clinics on “pill hill” that attract them.

      I also seem to recall lots of junkies on the scene when Fam Pizza was on 1st ave downtown.

    • I think DRGR’s point is that if Family Pizza had such problems on 1st Hill, the businesses around the safe injection site on Capitol Hill can probably expect to see the same kinds of problems the Colozzis had on 1st Hill.

    • Expect to see problems? You can see the problems right now, every day all over the Hill.

      What we’re doing now isn’t working. Should we keep on the same useless track or try a new approach? I don’t know. Seems like a consumption site might help cut down on overdose deaths but the other issues remain.

      Have we won the War on Drugs yet?

    • If methadone is such an effective therapy, why are there so many active drug users wandering around? Do they use street heroin as well as their daily methadone fix?

    • @Bob: Because a lot of the addicts you see haven’t begun a treatment program that includes methadone. A safe injection site will give them a venue to pursue that.

  2. @ Fairly Obvious: yes, of course what you say is true. But I am skeptical that addicts will use a safe injection site as a “venue” to get clean. Most already know that treatment is available with a little effort on their part, but they choose to continue to use.

    • “…choose to continue to use.”

      Well, at least you state that you have absolutely no idea about drug addiction, as is the case for most people that oppose safe injection sites.

    • Put another way…..Doesn’t an addict know…..deep down….that he/she is living a destructive lifestyle and that they need to get clean? If they are aware of this reality, why don’t they seek treatment?

    • “Doesn’t an addict know…..deep down….that he/she is living a destructive lifestyle and that they need to get clean?”

      Usually, yes. But you really need to read more on just how addictive opiods are and the ramifications of being dependent on opiods. Opiod addiction is so powerful it essentially overrides mental willpower. The times when they are mentally in a state to seek help, they are unable to get the help they need.

      That’s where safe injection sites come in. In their most vulnerable state, there are registered medical professionals on hand to help them out and help them seek treatment.

      For an analogue that may be more relatable, think of an alcoholic. If you’ve ever known an alcoholic, it’s nearly impossible for them to just stop drinking and (most importantly) stay sober. Nearly all people that recover from alcoholism do with help of friends and family and a large chunk, with help from a treatment program. They then stay sober with help from friends and family.

    • I’m not an addiction expert, like you profess to be, but I doubt your assertion that the addict’s psyche is so damaged that he/she becomes unaware of their problem and therefore is not able to make a choice to seek treatment. Yes, of course, addicts need help to overcome their substance abuse, but I am skeptical that a safe injection site would actually be effective in getting he/she into treatment and recovery. To staff a site with adequately trained professionals 24/7 would be very expensive and not realistic. I suspect the “intervention” there would be little more than handing a pamphlet to the person and sending him/her on their way.

  3. @Bob: I never claimed to be an addition expert, but I have spent a little amount of time with addicts and also have knowledge of the medical and mental impacts of opiod addition.

    I can tell you for a fact that opiod addiction is very powerful, one of the most addictive drugs along with alcohol, and for a vast majority of addicts, you can’t just up and quit on your own. In fact, quitting opiod withdrawals can even be deadly without medical intervention.

    And your statement about how you believe safe injection sites work is so horribly wrong, along with many past posts of yours. Please do even a little basic research into how an SIS works. There’s no need to be skeptical about anything, there’s plenty of real life examples that currently exist.

    It’s clear that your repetitive and untrue statements about addiction show either a bias or a complete ignorance towards opiod addiction and treatment. And unfortunately, it’s the small number, but very vocal, people like yourself that are a major roadblock to any real traction from happening.

    Do a little bit of research, you’ll be surprised how much you might not know.

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