MARQUETTE - Even though Rodney's Pizzeria is Marquette's newest pizza place, its owner is anything but new to the business.
Rodney Filizetti has been cooking since 1971 and has operated the original Rodney's Pizzeria in Gwinn for 20 years.
"The opportunity was right," Filizetti said of the second location in Marquette. "The market up here is a lot larger market to draw from. Gwinn is probably as big as it's going to get so I figured the best thing to do would be to try to expand and start a new one."
Rodney's features specialty pizzas, made-to-order pizzas, salads, bread and breadsticks, pop, nachos and 10 different sandwiches. It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant delivers after 4 p.m. with a $3 delivery charge.
The pizzeria opened on Oct. 27, 2008. Filizetti said all the kitchen equipment was already in the building but he completely remodeled the entrance, putting in a new floor, ceiling and walls.
Filizetti said business has picked up steadily, though slowly, since he opened.
"It's growing, little by little. You can't expect, with the economy the way it is, leaps and bounds. But we're doing okay," he said. "I feel I'm known for the portion size and the quality of food. Everything I make is homemade. All my breads, my sauces, the sausage."
The pizzeria's breadsticks are a popular item, Filizetti said, and he just introduced a homemade lasagna into the menu.
"I want to start getting my pastas in, down the road. In Gwinn we have a bigger menu with gnocchi, tortellini, spaghetti and bow-tie pastas. Those are some of my specialties I do in Gwinn," he said.
Everything at Rodney's is his own recipe, Filizetti said. He started cooking at the Northland Bar in Northland in 1971. He quit cooking when he started work at Cleveland Cliffs Inc. - now Cliffs Natural Resources - in the late 1970s.
After being laid off in 1981, Filizetti started a new career as a meat cutter.
"From there I realized without a retirement I had to do something, so that's when I decided to go into business," he said. "I like the restaurant business, I like cooking and I like when people eat my food and rave about it."
He said a lot of people in Marquette supported his business in Gwinn and he was pleased with his second location in the city.
"We do have good food. Our portions are big. I try to give people their money's worth. I don't skimp," Filizetti said. "I know my prices, you go to a (pizza restaurant chain) you're going to get a little cheaper pizza but you're going to get cheaper quality. That's just the way I look at it."
The restaurant caters and can make pizzas for large events. Filizetti said he recently baked 90 pizzas in an hour and a half for just such an event.
Filizetti said in the future he may move his Marquette location to a bigger building with enough room for a sit-down area, depending on how well the business does.