Vocelli Pizza chain sprouted from first Pittsburgh-area store

Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 12:01 AM

While there are more than 100 Vocelli Pizza locations across six states, the pizzeria’s roots are local.

Founder Varol Ablak and his father opened their first restaurant in 1988, and in less than five years, opened 20 restaurants in the Pittsburgh area.

In 1993, the first franchise was sold. Now, there are locations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and Alabama with approximately 2,000 employees.

Two of the locations, in Sewickley and Moon, are owned by a group that includes Manny Singh. He and his partners own eight Vocelli Pizza franchises.

“We are the largest franchisee of Vocelli Pizza,” said Jeff Petti, director of business development. “One of the reasons is we’re Pittsburghers, and we wanted to be part of a Pittsburgh-based company.”

In 2003, the name of the restaurant was changed from Pizza Outlet in order to better reflect the caliber of the products.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is the quality of our ingredients,” said Petti. “‘We use Hormel pepperoni and Wisconsin cheese. High-end products go into our pizza.”

The Vocelli menu includes appetizers, subs, salads, pasta, stromboli, desserts and, of course, pizza. In addition to classics like pepperoni and mushroom, Vocelli offers unique pizza creations, like mac and cheese, Philly steak and chicken carbonara.

In June, the franchise held a neighborhood party in which the first 100 customers received a free large pizza.

“There was a big turnout with a lot of good feedback from the community,” said Petti. “We like that. We like to be a part of the neighborhood and offer a good, quality product to the community.”

Vocelli Pizza is located at 422 Walnut St., Sewickley. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. For information, call 412-741-7800 or visit www.vocellipizza.com/sewickley_pa.