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New Grappelli’s owners want to make mark on community

  • Luke and Evelyn Jordan are the new owners of Grappelli's Pizza in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Luke and Evelyn Jordan are the new owners of Grappelli's Pizza in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Luke and Evelyn Jordan are the new owners of Grappelli's Pizza in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Luke and Evelyn Jordan are the new owners of Grappelli's Pizza in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Luke and Evelyn Jordan are the new owners of Grappelli's Pizza in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/16/2020 3:56:33 PM

Grappelli’s Pizza may be under new ownership, but customers can expect the same great food coming from familiar faces behind the counter.

Luke and Evelyn Jordan officially took over the Peterborough pizza establishment on Route 202 in late September, purchasing the business from founders Stephen and Noele Faccidomo.

Luke, who grew up in Temple, worked at Grappelli’s for four years during his junior and senior years at ConVal High School, his gap year and occasionally through his time at Keene State College. He spent almost 10 years in southern Florida, working many of those years in the food and beverage branch of the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, learning the fine nuances of what makes a restaurant operate successfully.

But after the Jordans got married in October of 2018, the two decided to move back to the area where Luke grew up, renovating his grandfather John Jordan’s West Peterborough home.

“That was part of the discussion,” Luke said. “We wanted to move back north and the opportunity to buy my grandfather’s home was here.”

And his intention was always to own a restaurant of his own in the area he ultimately wanted to come back to.

While serving as the general manager at Whetstone Station in Brattleboro, Vermont, Luke had a conversation with Stephen Faccidomo about the possibility of buying Grappelli’s. Luke began working at the Peterborough pizza establishment in March, with the intention of taking over the 30-year business at the beginning of 2021.

“I wouldn’t have bought just any place; it had to be this one,” Luke said. “It had always been near and dear to my heart because my first real job was here.”

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated those plans and now the Jordans are celebrating both the 30-year anniversary of Grappelli’s and their ownership with a grand re-opening celebration on Saturday, Nov. 21.

“We want to thank Noele and Stephen for entrusting us to grow a business they have built for the last 30 years,” Evelyn said.

Since taking over, the Jordans have embarked on a bit of a facelift of the restaurant, putting in new flooring and painting the guest areas – with the help of Luke’s parents Paul and Heidy – complete with new dining tables and chairs. They added a new chalkboard menu and a custom built sign commemorating when Grappelli’s began. They shut down for two days during the beginning of November to complete the renovations and now want to share the changes with the community.

To celebrate, Grappelli’s will have specials on slices this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – $1 for cheese, $2 for pepperoni and $3 for all specialty pizza slices.

Luke handles the day-to-day operations of running the restaurant and retained longtime employee Megan Yerardi, who has been with Grappelli’s since 2003. Evelyn is in charge of marketing and runs the Grappelli’s social media accounts, while also working full time as the branch office administrator at Edward Jones in Milford.

The opportunity to purchase an established restaurant with 30 years of longevity was too appealing to pass up.

“This isn’t like any of the other pizza places in the area,” Luke said, noting the authentic Italian style, hand-tossed and cooked in a brick oven. “There’s nowhere like it in town or really anywhere in the region that does it like us.”

Luke said they make dough fresh every day and the sauce is made in house using a tried and true recipe. He buys produce each morning to provide only the freshest ingredients possible for his customers.

“The quality of the food, it sets us apart,” he said, adding they hope to partner with local farms “for as much of that farm to table idea as we can.”

In addition to the pizza, which Grappelli’s offers two gluten-free options as well, Luke said the subs – the two most popular being the Italian and steak and cheese – are made on fresh bread and they have added chicken wings to the appetizer offerings.

Luke said the two major areas of focus as he takes over is consistency and customer service.

“I want everybody to be treated like family when they come in here,” he said. “We have people who come in five days a week for slices, so you’ve got to be doing something right.”

In November, Grappelli’s began offering a pizza of the month in the form of a Honey Chipotle Chicken Bacon Ranch, with the next combination for December still being tested in the kitchen.

Each day, Grappelli’s offers eight pizzas in the form of slices, some of which are made special by the slice. They make extra large pizzas for the slices, which aren’t on the traditional menu, and only cut them into six so the offerings are big.

“The ingredients we use sometimes, you’re not going to be able to get that pizza all the time,” Luke said. “That keeps it interesting.”

Luke said that lunches are super busy with a lot of slices going out the door, which “means the slices aren’t sitting around.”

Taking over a business has it’s own set of challenges, but doing so during a global pandemic only amplifies the concerns.

“You have to be worried,” Luke said. “You don’t know what the projections are going to look like moving forward.”

But thankfully they have been able to navigate these unprecedented times.

“We want to say thank you to our staff for all their hard work, to our community for all their support, to Luke’s parents for helping us with the renovations,” Evelyn said.

Currently, Grappelli’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., but Luke said there have been discussions about resuming operations on Sundays again.

Evelyn has spent a lot of time working to build the restaurants visibility on Facebook and Instagram.

“It’s really a great place for people to see our specialty pizza of the month, what we’re making for slices,” Luke said.

The Jordans have talked about ways to get more involved with the community and giving back to those who have made Grappelli’s what it is today.

“We’re trying to bring it to the next level,” Luke said. “Customer service is everything. That’s the whole reason you’re in business. I want to be proud of our place in the community and I want us to be known for not only great food, but great service and good people.”

And for Luke, the purchase of Grappelli’s was a long-term investment.

“I fully expect to see a 50-year anniversary here under our ownership,” he said.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/grappellispizza.

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