Elias Nino enjoys seeing familiar faces at his new pizzeria, sitting around while engaged in conversation.
That’s part of the reason for opening Papa Nino’s in Manteca at the corner of Cottage and East Louise Avenue – former home to the Eight Dollar Pizza Truck.
“I want to bring family-style of enjoying meal together back in,” he said. “I think we’re losing some of that day-to-day community interaction due to technology.”
Papa Nino’s held its grand opening on Feb. 1. Nino, who grew up in Riverside County town of Corona, had fond memories of making pizzas in his younger years.
His wife Krystale is from Dunsmuir near Mount Shasta. As fate would have it, they met in Manteca – where north meets south in the middle of the state – with both relocating to the Central Valley for various employment opportunities.
“I was doing HVAC with family and she was working hair and insurance,” Nino recalled.
They got married not too long ago and began planning for their future. Enter Papa Nino’s.
“I saw an ad on this space being available,” said Nino, who had fond memories of Southern California days of making pizzas.
His wife helped guide him through the process of making possible this business endeavor, from securing the finances to organizing the plan.
It took two to three months to get the space – over 1,200 square feet inside with seating enough to accommodate 20 to 25 people and ‘The Sounds of Sinatra’ music adding to the ambiance – at 1231 E. Louise Ave. ready for business.
Papa Nino’s opened in late January with a soft opening. For Elias Nino, it didn’t take him too long to get into the swing of making pizzas.
“I’ve never really stopped making them – it was usually at home for friends and family,” he said.
Nino uses fresh ingredients while pre-making most of his meat toppings. His dough is made daily from scratch.
“My pizzas are about the toppings. I want everything to be consisted,” he noted.
Papa Nino’s offers vegan choices as well as anything fit for carnivore. Krystale Nino is vegan.
“We have mama menu that’s vegan (artichoke hearts, spinach, garbanzo beans, egg plants, etc.) and a papa menu with the choice of meats, cheese and dairy products,” Elias Nino said.
For the carnivore, he’ll soon offer brisket ribs and tri-tip beef to go along with the usual menu topping choices – pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef crumple, bacon, meatball, Canadian bacon, salami, diced ham, to name a few.
“We’re planning to have a ‘Carnivore vs. Vegan… Eat a Pizza Contest,’” said Nino, who indicated the winner would get something like a free pizza for one month.
He and his wife, Krystale, are also planning to give back to the community in other ways.
“We’re creating a system where a portion will go to a shelter or a local outreach,” said Nino.
They’re taking part in the Manteca Crossroads Street Faire on April 6-7, selling pizza by the slices during this two-day event.
Papa Nino’s has only been open for a short time but has already received return customers.
Take Sofia from one of the nearby business. Her pizza order on this day was a “surprise me,” she said.
To which Elias Nino whipped up a Cowboy pizza that was ready for takeout in less than 20 minutes.
“This is my second time here – I really like it,” Sofia said.
Papa Nino’s is open Sundays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For more information, call 209.483.7371 or log on to www.papaninospizza.com.