Steven Salamone grew up in Brooklyn, grabbing pizza by the slice as a cheap and convenient meal on the go. It was that experience that helped shape his current entrepreneurial journey.
As a transplant to our region, he wanted to recreate that authentic New York-style pizza in the Pacific Northwest. And when he opened the doors at Salamone’s Pizza in Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood, a spot where customers can get pizza by the slice or opt for a whole pie, he knew he was bringing something unique and fresh to the area.
“I took a chance, but was confident that people would love the pizza that I loved all my life. We have a worldly clientele here,” he says of the Tacoma area.
Amazingly, before opening his business, he’d never set foot in a commercial kitchen, yet Steven designed and built the kitchen inside the restaurant by himself. While his background in finance might not seem like it makes him the ideal restaurateur, Steven says he always knew a venture like this was in his future.
The native New Yorker relocated to Washington with his wife and their children in 2015 to be closer to his wife’s family in the area. Within a few years of their cross-country move, Steven knew it was time he realized that long-held dream of opening a business.
“I knew I wanted to try doing something on my own when I slowed down or retired from my field and the timing was just right,” Steven recalls about how he found the restaurant location.
Salamone’s Pizza is in the building that once housed Tully’s Coffee, and when the coffee shop closed in early 2018, Steven knew he’d found the perfect location for his future business. It was about a month between Tully’s closing and Steven taking over the space, with the eatery opening a few months later in August 2018. But the work involved in opening the restaurant actually started well before that.
Despite his lack of industry experience, and armed only with his dream of one day soon opening a pizzeria, in September of 2017, nearly a year before Salamone’s Pizza opened its doors to the public, Steven began perfecting pizza dough. His recipe is something he says continues to evolve as his skillset expands and the restaurant grows.
“As a baker, you never stop learning, it’s part science, part heart.”
Although he’s a big part of the business, it is his name is on the door after all, Steven admits this isn’t something he can do all on his own. He had some assistance with the dishes that customers see on the menu.
It was Steven’s family who helped him with the decision to name the restaurant’s house special pies after places in and around New York City. For instance, there’s the Tribeca, which Steven says is a big hit with customers. The Tribeca features a red sauce, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and olives. Another crowd favorite is the Gramercy, named after a park in New York. This pie has a white pizza base, which is ricotta rather than tomato sauce, mozzarella, and is topped with spinach, artichoke hearts and garlic.
If you want a whole pie, but not one of the house specials, you’re welcome to build your own. There’s a variety of toppings as well as sauces to choose, from traditional red sauce to white (ricotta) or pesto. And for the pizza sold by the slice, there’s a big variety, too. Favorites like pepperoni and cheese, as well as a rotating selection of house special pizzas, along with a chef’s choice pie that changes daily.
There are options for enjoying pizza at home or work, as the eatery delivers within two miles of the restaurant. They’re also currently in the process of signing up with Door Dash to bring their pies to more customers.
When asked what the future holds for Salamone’s, Steven hinted at some possible collaborations with other Tacoma restaurants and at possibly broadening the menu.
“Look for us to do more, not just pizza, I’m thinking nonlinear. I like to be creative and I like to be challenged.”