A’pizza History: Mike’s Apizza
Mike’s Apizza is a West Haven staple and starts with the Buonocore family, who are three generations strong.
Andrew Buonocore was the first to come over to the United States from the Amalfi Coast of Italy in 1920. Andrew worked various labor jobs in New Haven and eventually opened his first pizzeria and pub on Grand Avenue in New Haven called Neapolitan which lasted from 1933-1935.
Mike Buonocore, Andrew’s cousin, came over in 1923 from Italy and worked at the Royal Grand Tavern for one of his relatives from 1941 to 1947. Mike’s first restaurant was on Jefferson Street in New Haven.
In 1946, Mike moved his wife and kids to Savin Rock in West Haven and started Mike’s Restaurant & Spaghetti House. This restaurant was located on Thomas Street (in front of the old subway on the corner of Capt. Thomas Blvd and Campbell Ave). Originally, it was a bakery with a coke-fired oven.
In the mid-1960s, Savin Rock was literally dismantled and eventually all torn down. In this devastation was the loss of the original Mike’s Restaurant.
Mike, Sr, retired from the business in 1965. After Mike’s retirement, the Simeone family moved Mike’s Restaurant to Greenwich Avenue in New Haven and ran it until roughly the mid-1970s.
Frank (Butch) Buonocore, Mike, Sr’s son opened the restaurant back in West Haven in the mid-1970s on Wagner Place. Then, he bought the property at 111 Campbell Ave where Mike’s Apizza & Restaurant still exists to this day.
To this day Frank is still making the dough and apizza with his son Mike.
Thank you to Rusty Drake for helping me fill in the blanks.