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Remembering West Scranton Pizza Icon

SCRANTON, Pa. — The longtime owner of Scranton staple Maroni’s Pizza passed away earlier this week. On the Electric City’s west side, everyone...

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The longtime owner of Scranton staple Maroni's Pizza passed away earlier this week.

On the Electric City's west side, everyone knows Maroni's Pizza. It's a household name here.

But it's not just the place itself that's become an institution in the community, but the man behind Maroni's co-owner Carmen Pellegrino.

"Carmen was a wonderful person. He was a mainstay of St. Ann's, there was only two things on St. Ann's Street: St Ann's Basilica and Maroni's Pizza and Carmen," said James Thomas.

Pellegrino passed away on Monday from an illness at the age of 62.

West siders remember him not just for his pizza, but for the way he greeted everyone who came in with a smile and a conversation.

Pellegrino didn't have customers, he had friends, family, even. Everyone knew him, and he knew everyone.

"He knew everybody by their first name. He knew exactly all of the family, every time I walked in, he would say to me,' what's new in the city?' but he'd wind up telling me," said Ruth Griffiths.

"He sponsored baseball teams and everything. He knew everybody. You walked in there, you were welcome," Mark Lipisco said.

When Ruth Griffiths wanted to order a tray of pizza, all she had to do was call and tell Carmen it was Baby Ruth. He took care of the rest.

"One time, the church needed pizza. He was open at 11 o'clock. Trays of pizza were sent over to the church," Griffiths recalled.

Maroni's has been closed all week. There's a sign taped to the front door that reads, "Sorry, we are temporarily closed for a death in the family."

But, as is evident with a mountain of pizza boxes, Newswatch 16 saw one busy night, west siders need their Maroni's.

It's expected the family will reopen the restaurant sometime next week.