Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Aloe's Market and Frank's Pizzeria

Aloe's Market, 802 Duss Ave., owned by the late Salvatore and Giuseppina Aloe, was one of the many small markets that once could be found throughout Ambridge. The market sold fruit, vegetables, and groceries, specializing in Italian products. According to Salvatore and Giuseppina's grandson, Bobby Aloe, Aloe's Market was open from about 1945 through 1955.

Aloe's Market business card
circa 1945-55

The handsome couple standing in front of the market in the photo below are Costanza and Frank Aloe, the daughter-in-law and son of Salvatore and Giuseppina.

Costanza and Frank Aloe
Aloe's Market
802 Duss Ave.
circa 1950
photo courtesy of Bobby Aloe

According to Bobby Aloe, before coming to the U.S., Salvatore, his brother, and Frank were fishermen in Italy. After immigrating to the U.S., Salvatore and Frank worked in New York, operating a push-cart selling produce. From there they came to Ambridge, worked at Pressed Steel in McKees Rocks, and then for A. M. Byers in Harmony Township.

While Salvatore and Giuseppina owned the market, Frank often worked there.

Frank Aloe behind the counter of Aloe's Market
circa 1950
photo courtesy of Bobby Aloe 

Between strikes and layoffs, mill employment was unstable in the mid-1950s, so Frank decided to open his own business. Since he had been a fisherman in Italy, he opened a fish market in a storefront on the lower level of his home at 618 Duss Ave.

When the fish market turned out to be less profitable than Frank had hoped, he opened an Italian pastry shop in the same location. That too failed. And then came business #3.

In 1958, at a time when most pizza was made at home, Frank saw an ad placed by a New York pizza equipment company in an Italian newspaper, offering pizza-making training and equipment for $600. Frank went to New York, took the training, and used the equipment in his new business, Frank's Pizzeria. That business, and its cheese-under-the-sauce pizza, was a success. And how! After almost 60 years, the phone at Frank's rings almost constantly during business hours, and lines of people picking up pizzas can be long.

Frank Aloe tossing pizza
photo courtesy of  Frank's Pizzeria

Frank's Pizza became a family business, operated by Frank and Costanza, with children and grandchildren helping out.

"Bob and Sal Aloe check pizza orders."
Beaver County Times
December 26, 1988

Despite its success, and fame beyond the Ambridge area (so much so that Frank's offers "Pizza Packed for Travel"), Frank's never expanded beyond its original Ambridge location, and the only item on its menu besides pizzas and toppings are calzones--a perfect example of a business that does one thing and does it very well.

Frank died in May 2010 after a short illness. Bobby and his brother Sal now run the business.

802 Duss Ave.
May 2, 2015

Frank's Pizzeria
618 Duss Ave.
March 22, 2014


  1. Joe Amato had a store there for a few years before going up to the store in the Village!