Mix New York-style pizza with loyal and hungry customers and that’s the recipe for the expansion of Bobby Lupo’s Pizza.
The Harker Heights restaurant is adding a second location in Killeen to better serve Fort Hood, owners said.
“We want to cater to that part of town, but we can’t from our Harker Heights location because it’s too far,” said Ernie Safady, one of the restaurant’s founding partners. “From our new shop, we’ll be able to deliver to Fort Hood and that area.”
Dubbed Bobby Lupo’s Express, the new location will occupy the former Wise Guys site on Willow Springs Road. With a small dine-in area, the main purpose of Express is delivery and pick-up service.
Dennis “BJ” Benjamin, a retired sergeant major and also a founding partner, said Fort Hood is eager for delivery of their pizza.
“It’s a market we’ve never touched, and we’ll be right at the front gate, so everyone’s pleased that we’re coming,” Benjamin said. “We can reach all the housing areas within 10 minutes.”
Safady estimated Express will open by the end of July, depending on the building permit process. The new location will employ about 10 to 15 people under the supervision of Rocco Rossi, manager and the newest partner.
As a young boy working in the pizza business in Washington, D.C., Rossi dreamed of one day having his own restaurant. While completing the remaining months of his Army service, Rossi worked nights learning the business.
“I worked my way up from part-time pizza maker to become a partner. That’s the American dream,” Rossi said.
All three partners are proud that Lupo’s is a family-owned and operated business that encourages employees to grow with the company.
“We want to promote our people from within and give everyone the chance, like Rocco has done, to be a part of our success,” Safady said.
“You can’t grow without a family,” Rossi said. “We treat everyone with respect and it’s about working as a team and as a family,” he said.
Benjamin named community support as a key ingredient in the growth of Bobby Lupo’s Pizza since it first opened two years ago.
“We support the community 100 percent, from schools to charities, and without the support of the community, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.