Fiori’s boasts Pittsburgh’s best slice

Even though it’s not located directly on the Boulevard, Fiori’s Pizzaria has been a Brookline staple ever since it opened in 1979. Photo by Rebekah Devorak.

Even though it’s not located directly on the Boulevard, Fiori’s Pizzaria has been a Brookline staple ever since it opened in 1979. Photo by Rebekah Devorak.

By: Asia Buckley

New York has Lombardi’s. Chicago has Capo’s. Pittsburgh has Fiori’s.

Pittsburghers are particular about their pizza. Proud Brookline residents argue that Fiori’s is the best of the best. Located at 103 Capital Ave., right off West Liberty Avenue, Fiori’s straddles the edges of Brookline and Beechview.

Like many Brookline business owners, Fiori Moscatiello came to Brookline by pure chance and has chosen to stay for the long haul. Opening his doors in 1979, Fiori quickly be

came a name known throughout the neighborhood.

Fiori was born and raised in Naples, Italy. He immigrated to the United States in 1972.  His youngest son, Luciano, pegs the restaurant’s story as a “typical immigrant story construction.” Fiori had been searching for a location to open his business for a few years, and when 103 Capital Ave. became available, he knew it was the spot.

Priding himself on using the freshest ingredients, Fiori claims, “It is the sauce that makes the pizza.” The sauce is unique in that it is a sweeter, smoother consistency of tomato paste.

“A lot of people, they don’t want to spend the money,” Fiori says. “They use the cheap stuff and put the money in their pocket. You gotta buy the best ingredients.”

The Moscatiello family would never consider changing their method of making pizza. “We make everything ourselves, we take it seriously; it’s our livelihood…fresh every day,” Luciano explains.

Customers have the opportunity to watch the pizza made right before their eyes, mouths watering as an abundance of fresh ingredients from cheese and pepperoni to olives and anchovies is piled on.

Fiori’s also sells pizza by the slice and a familiar Brookline phrase that can be heard is “cut’ n’ tea.” With this phrase, customers can expect a slice of steaming pizza served on a pizza tin along with a carton of Turner’s iced tea, which seems to fly out of the cooler on a busy Friday evening.

Like many other businesses in the neighborhood, Fiori’s relies on repeat customers. He created the slogan, “We fix you up,” meaning, “We’ll make sure you get something great.”

Fiori’s sons, Fabrizo and Luciano, and daughter, Melinda, have also worked their way into the family business and couldn’t imagine life any other way. Fabrizo manages the newer location in Peters Township, which opened in 2011, while Melinda and Luciano work in Brookline.

Luciano remembers his work in the pizza shop began at the young age of four. “The put a mop in my hands and let me move it around.”

Fiori can be found in the Brookline shop daily. He is often behind the counter greeting customers or manning the ovens.

“To make a good pizza, you gotta work,” said Fiori, who sometimes works 16-hour days making sure everything is perfect for his customers. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Having been in Brookline for nearly 37 years, the Moscatiello family is on a first name basis with a majority of their customers. Luciano’s favorite thing about working in the family business is getting to know everyone. “You start to know what they like, what their kids’ like and you watch [the kids] grow up.”

There is rarely a slow day at Fiori’s — the place can be found packed with Steelers fans on a Sunday afternoon in October or filled with families on a Friday evening. The shop is only closed four days a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Independence Day.

Luciano says they are discussing opening a shop in the North Hills. “We’ll give them a taste of real pizza,” he says with a grin.