AVPN Australasia


Pizzeria: Umberto

Umberto

The history of our restaurant began in 1916 when Ermelinda and Umberto di Porzio opened a little trattoria, known to most people as "Don Umberto". "Nonna (Granny)" Ermelinda took care of the kitchen, originally situated where the tables of the restaurant are now, and would prepare typical neapolitan dishes such as ragu, spaghetti and anything else their customers asked for. The restaurant established an excellent reputation because of its good food and the high-quality, fine wines that Don Umberto bought from small, local wine merchants.
Children Rosa, Flora, Bianca, Mario and Peppino helped their parents in the running of the small family business and often Don Umberto's father, Vitale, was there to help too.
"Small" was the key word, too small in fact. When they saw that trade was going well they decided to enlarge the restaurant. In May 1926, regular customers were shocked to find the restaurant had closed. Stunned silence, amazement, mystery: "whatever could have happened?" they thought. Then the sound of hammering and building work. Soon modern restaurant pizzeria emerged and everything became clear!
In the year that followed the history and philosophy of the restaurant was born. Don Umberto took pride in the fact that the restaurant offered a variety of dishes and customers enjoyed themselves. For Don Umberto this was not enough. Quality and authentic ingredients were what made the meal and were the reasons why the restaurant was full until the early hours of the morning. That year "Umberto" pizza, deep, soft and made of genuine ingredients, became part of our tradition.
Customers always felt at ease in what could be described as a warm family environment and this is still felt in the restaurant today: So many engagements, friendships, business dinners, special moments have taken place in our restaurant. The combination of customers, waiters, cooks and new visitors as often happened, brought spice and entertainment as people would exchange stories and anecdotes between tables. How could we ever forget the various personalities who have worked for us, the famous guests… and their nicknames. The nickname "Treddeta" which was often used instead of the name "Umberto", was given to Don Umberto who had lost two fingers on his right hand after a hunting accident. Both Don Umberto and "Granny" Ermelinda organised "the dinner for the poor children", on Saint Anthony's day an annual tradition where the restaurant was filled with neapollitan orphans enjoying a full meal. Two new dishes have been put in our menu to honour our grandparents: " 'E tubettoni d' 'o treddeta", pasta with seafood and "E polpettine 'e Nonna Ermelinda", neapolitan meat balls with tomato sauce. We still remember the many people who have worked here and given character to the restaurant. People like Leopoldo Arienzo, a pizza maker for over fifty years, innovative and genial as few have ever been since the invention of the pizza. Tonino Restano, guitarist with heart and soul, famous for his laugh and song. Pino Pica, his faithful companion and one of the greatest violinists.
But "Umberto" wasn't just Mario, the great organiser and Peppino, the great administrator, but there was also Flora, Maria, Bianca, Gisella, Giudo and many others, including Don Umberto's grandchildren who took turns in helping their parents - Milena, Linda, Nadia, Rita, Rosalba, Annamaria, Bruno, Salvo. All of this happened under the supervision of Don Umberto, who would sit next to the entrance, in the narrow Via Alabardieri, where he loved to chat and discuss things with customers, while "Nonna Ermelinda" who would check the linen and the cooks in the kitchen.
Then the unhappy moment in 1959 arrived when Don Umberto died and his children finally took charge of the restaurant.
We now find ourselves in the nineties, years in which "Peppino" and "Maria" have continue to maintain the tradition of quality and customers continue to return for the genuine food, family atmosphere and friendliness.
Their four children, Linda, Lorella, Roberta e Massimo work by their side in this moment in the story as their parents did, and will continue to try, to pass on to them and their grandchildren, their emotions, their ties, all the joys and (at times) suffering that only such a long established business can offer.
Pizzeria: Umberto
Pizzeria: Umberto
Associate 97
Associate since 11/24/1997

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