Pizza guys: New owners of De Antonio’s spin classic pizzas in Winter Park
De Antonio’s Pizza & Pasta in Winter Park is one of Grand County’s quintessential establishments, popular with locals and visitors alike, and now the venerable pie shop has a new duo at the helm spinning fresh pizzas with scratch-made sauce and dough.
De Antonio’s was owned and operated by Frank “De Antonio” Donnadio for many years. Donnadio was the man responsible for the restaurant’s classic New York style pizzas and homey pizzeria atmosphere, but as of this spring Donnadio has passed the torch onto Patrick Barker and Uriel Ayon. The two friends reopened De Antonio’s on Wednesday and, while the two men have years of experience in the pizza business in Colorado Springs, they are extremely excited about their new venture in Middle Park.
“This has always been a dream, that one day I will own my own store,” Barker said. “Hopefully everything goes well. It’s a dream come true, it really is.”
Ayon echoed his sentiments about the dream of owning his own establishment.
“Since I was 18 all my friends knew I wanted to open my own restaurant,” Ayon said. “It means a lot to be able to start my own business. It has always been a dream. I am super exicted to be out here flipping pizzas and tossing dough. We want to make food that we are proud of and people enjoy.”
The two men were quick to recognize Donnadio.
“This would not be possible without Frank,” Barker said. “Frank handed over the keys and said I will be back to teach you whatever you want.”
Barker grew up in Grand County and his parents owned the former Domino’s Pizza restaurant in the Fraser Valley for roughly 10 years. He moved to Colorado Springs while attending college and began working at another Domino’s store. While managing that store, Barker met and hired Ayon, a Los Angeles native, and over the next few years the two men became friends as they spun dough and cooked up pizzas along the Front Range.
One day when Barker stopped into De Antonio’s for some pizza, he got to talking with Donnadio who mentioned he was looking to sell the establishment. Earlier this year Barker and Donnadio entered into a deal and in April things finally clicked into place. De Antonio’s shut down for the transition roughly three weeks ago and reopened for the summer in mid-May.
Barker and Ayon are planning to keep the De Antonio’s name and most of the pizzeria’s recipes, but have brought their own personal sauce recipe that they feel will add an additional pop of flavor to their pies. They are also planning to start delivery service for Winter Park and Fraser in June and discussed potentially adding a halfway delivery stop point between the valley and Granby to provide delivery service to that region.
They also hope to renovate the restaurant to add a full service bar later this summer or during the fall mud season.
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