The Pie Guy!

One of the advantages of being a crossword puzzle fanatic is the opportunity to learn and use new words.  Mr. T. kids me because I always work them in ink….that’s how my grandparents taught me to do it.  Most Sunday’s you can find me on the front porch, Sunday New York Times in hand, working the puzzle of all puzzle’s.   A word I particularly like is :  “ONER”.  Oner is defined as an outstanding person, “One of a kind”.  After talking with Sal Cenicola last week in one of his rare “downtime” moments I would have to say that Sal is definitely a oner!


In his restaurant, Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria, located on St. Simons Island you’ll feel like you’ve entered a small Italian bistro anywhere in New York City.  The sound of Frank Sinatra’s silky voice fills the air as well as the aroma of garlic, tomato sauce, Italian herbs and spices.  All of these components combine to make for a very successful restaurant and dining experience.  Excellence is the word that kept repeating in my mind as I spoke with Sal.  He always demands the best of himself, his family and his employee’s.  The bar is set high, but Sal is the kind of guy other people want to please, making his challenge to those around him an easy one to meet.  While I sat in the pizzeria the place was teeming with business and servers were high energy, helpful and obviously loving their work.


A first generation American, Sal’s parents emigrated from Italy to Ellis Island, NY.  Sal was raised in Rivervale, New Jersey but also spent time in the famous Bronx area of New York as well as Long Island.  Family meals, time spent around the table together, sharing food, conversation and love all played into Sal’s life as a boy.  As a young man he ventured into the boxing ring and his passion for the sport began.  Sal won gold medal after gold medal as a lightweight contender and held an 18 win, undefeated record in the ring.  In the early 1980’s Sylvester Stallone acted as his co-manager.  The two still remain in touch today.  This past November, Sal was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame where he joins other world champions.


BUT, here’s the amazing thing.  Sal is going back into the ring!!!!  On April 13, 2013, at the Peck Center in Fernandina Beach, go here, Sal will re-enter the boxing ring.  He’s  busy training and getting ready for the big day.  I asked him, “Why?”, and his reply to me….”I’ve got a fire in my belly and in my heart.  I’m in great shape and I can DO this!”.  I believe him!  Sal looks to be in extraordinary shape.  In training for the event he is running, working out and eating according to Robert Haas’ prescription for peak performance: 70% Complex Carbohydrates, 20% Lean Protein and 10% Fat.

Sal has a special sparkle in his eyes, a sparkle that speaks of his love for life, his determination to win, never to come in second and to share.  Throughout the time I spent with Sal he  greeted customers with a hug and a handshake.  His warmth and generosity literally permeate the atmosphere in the pizzeria.  And can Sal toss pizza dough?  You betcha!


When he’s not at the restaurant you’ll find Sal hanging out with his kids.  Family is everything to him.  He loves Sunday dinner, served up just the way his mother would have done it years ago.  Linguine with White Clam Sauce is his favorite meal, any time of day with a slice or two of his now famous pizza, a bit of red wine and lots of love.  It sounds like a recipe for happiness to me.

Stop by for a slice, take a pie home, enjoy one of Sal’s many delicious entrees….Mangia!  And be sure to say hi to The Pie Guy, I know you’ll be met with that winning smile and a hearty handshake!


Sal’s Neighborhood Pizzeria – 3415 Frederica Road – St. Simons Island, GA 31522 – 912-268-2328- Dine In or Take Out

2 Responses

  1. K.D. McCrite Says:

    Absolutely the best pizza, anywhere! In fact, it was so good and Sal was such a great guy, I was inspired to include the pizzeria in my book, A Stony Point Christmas. Can’t wait to return to SSI and indulge in that great pizza once more!

  2. Melissa Says:

    I’ll make sure Sal knows about your comment! He is the real deal, such a prince of a guy! Thanks KD!!!

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