In 1978 John Iannucci Sr started making pizza in South Asheville, his customers may have been coming from or going to movies like Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or National Lampoon’s Animal House. Or they might have taken the hot pizza home to watch popular television shows like Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie, The Rockford Files, CHiPs, The Love Boat, or Three’s Company.
Things have changed a little bit since then on Hendersonville Road. That was before McDonalds opened there. The building French Fryz occupies was the Skyland Post Office. There was only one Ingles store near by. Sites with what we consider long-standing businesses were wooded — you get the idea. Iannucci was a south Asheville pioneer.
Here are a few stats for 1978: average cost of new house $54,800, average income per year $17,000, average monthly rent $260, and a gallon of gas cost 63 cents,
When Nick Iannaucci was going to T.C. Roberson High School, he told his father he wanted to go to a culinary school. His father’s response was, “You wanna go to cooking school, you come stand right next to me in the kitchen.” Nick decided to get a business degree. He says, “I had already stood next to him a long time.”
John’s sons grew up in the kitchen and now run the business. “We used to sleep on flour bags in the back of the kitchen,” says Iannaucci. “We still make our pizza the same way we always have. We are consistent in these inconsistent times.” Inconsistent times indeed: Iannnucci says people they used to see twice a week they now see once every two weeks. Of course, there’s lots more competition in south Asheville now, but there are also many more people in the area.
The area’s oldest continuous restaurant is still referred to as a landmark for directions, and still boiling and baking in the open kitchen.
Photo by Bill Rhodes