Community mourns loss of beloved pizza shop owner

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Lackawanna County community is mourning the loss of a beloved pizza shop owner after he passed away on Sunday.

Buona Pizza on Lackawanna Avenue has been a staple in the Electric City for more than 50 years. While owner Americo Piccolino, known to many as “Frank”, is no longer with us, his children and grandchildren are ensuring his legacy lives on.

“He loved coming here, and he loved his customers,” Piccolino’s son, Giovannni said.

Americo Piccolino dedicated his life to sharing a taste of his Italian heritage. It’s a passion he lived for every day since opening Buona Pizza Shop in Scranton with his brothers in 1966.

“If you’re Italian, food is love, so I think that him and Mario and Guido having the pizza place for so long and feeding the community and everything was their way of showing love,” family friend Amy Costanzo said.

That love of food was passed down to his children and grandchildren.

“He taught me how to make pizza, he was teaching her, so he really just loved to cook and loved to be around pizza,” Piccolino’s grandson, Chase, said.

Americo adored his loyal customers and friends who supported his family business. Loved ones say they brought him immeasurable amounts of joy.

“He would give you his shirt off his back. If you walked in here cold, or if you were hungry, he would give you the food off of his plate. He wanted to make sure that you were taken care of before you walked out. He would never, ever turn his back on anybody and that’s just how the whole entire Piccolino family is,” Piccolino’s niece Lucia Piccolino-Murphy said.

A family that’s sticking together during this tough time. They are extremely heartbroken as they mourn the loss of two loved ones.

“They’re in Heaven together. They’re definitely dancing and waltzing in the skies together,” Murphy said.

Americo’s wife Patricia passed away just one day before he did.

“I can’t describe in words how much I love my parents. And how much they taught us. Hopefully can just be as good a dad I can to my son,” Piccolino’s son, Giovanni, said.

Piccolino says he has big shoes to fill, but the business will continue to serve up smiles and delicious food in memory of his father.

“We’ll definitely keep his legacy alive and like I said, if I could be one-tenth of the human being he was, I’ll consider it good,” Giovanni said.

Americo will be buried in his native Italy and he will be greatly missed.

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