After a three-year hiatus, longtime pizzeria Pepi’s Pizza will soon reopen in West Allis.
The business has moved into the former Big Ebe’s Pizza space at 1329 S. 70th St., and is currently gearing up for an August opening, said owner Ricci Mane.
Pepi’s first opened in 1953 at North 16th and West Scott Street. It moved in 1995 to a space on South Howell Avenue on Milwaukee’s south side and operated there for the next 20 years before relocating for a short time to Brady Street.
That location closed in 2016, but Pepi’s continued to serve its Italian food at Kat’s Cafe in New Berlin and sell frozen pizzas at stores throughout the area.
Pepi’s Pizza will continue to serve its popular thin crust pizza, entrees and desserts at its new West Allis location, Mane said. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, opening at 10 a.m. for coffee, light pastries and “breakfast pizza.”
Mane, who operates the restaurant with his wife Kathy and son Jerry, purchased the business in the early 2000s from its second-generation owner, Joe Nigrelli. Mane had worked at Pepi’s in high school and was a longtime friend of the Nigrelli family, he said. Joe’s parents, Andy and Mary Nigrelli, were the original owners.
The restaurant’s 47-seat dining room will be decorated with nods to the restaurant’s longtime history and vintage Italian culture, Mane said. There will be additional seating on an outdoor patio that faces South 70th Street.
“It will have a nice, relaxed atmosphere,” he said. “I’m trying to slow people down to enjoy life here– don’t gobble it down and go. Don’t be in a rush. The world moves at too fast a pace sometimes.”
Tim Schultz, Pepi’s Pizza longtime chef and icon among regular diners, will continue to head kitchen operations, Mane said.
The restaurant will also offer take-out and delivery services.
Mane said the space is currently undergoing interior cosmetic changes and a final inspection is scheduled for Wednesday. A target opening date will be determined after that inspection is complete.