By Alyssa Weston
Republic Pizzeria e Pub sells a hybrid of Italian and New York-style pizza by the slice on Youngstown State University’s campus.
Owners and siblings Josh Santangelo, senior Italian and Spanish studies major at YSU, and YSU alumna Candace Santangelo said they noticed no one did hand-tossed pizza by the slice in the area.
Josh Santangelo said a summer study abroad trip with the YSU Italian department helped inspire him to revisit his cooking roots.
“I’ve always loved pizza,” he said. “When I first started in the restaurant business, I started making pizza.”
Josh Santangelo said he and his sister chose to open the pizzeria on YSU’s campus because of the volume of students and the belief that there will always be students on campus regardless of the economy.
Candace Santangelo said the university is always growing and thriving.
“We thought this would be an ideal location,” she said. “I went to school here and Josh also goes to school here, so we just wanted to bring it back to where we came from.”
Candace Santangelo said she and Josh successfully navigate running a family-owned business because they have always been close and their strengths and weaknesses complement each other.
“With this business, you’re always learning something new so it’s been good for both of us to work together, but it was definitely an adjustment at first,” she said.
Josh Santangelo said Republic plans to stick to few menu items and make them better than anyone else.
“We are not doing anything that anyone else does around here. Everything we do is unique,” he said.
Although Republic recently opened their pizzeria, Candace Santangelo said the bar area is expected to open soon.
“We are sort of waiting on that grand opening of the bar. In the next few weeks we are going to grow that menu a little more, but we are going to mainly focus on classic pizzeria items,” Candace Santangelo said.
Morgan Czopur, a sophomore early childhood education and special education major, said she enjoyed her experience at Republic.
“I liked how the place was set up. There was a lot of space and it was very clean,” she said.
Czopur said the food was great, fresh and hot.
“The slices are huge and it isn’t expensive,” she said. “The people that worked there were very welcoming. They were helpful and polite.”
Josh Santangelo said he wants customers to remember the great food and the customer service when they leave Republic.
“I always want you to feel welcomed here, like a place you can come in every day. We know your face, your name and what you get,” Candace Santangelo said. “We just want it to feel like home for the students. We don’t just want to be another place on campus.”