Black and white New York skyline wallpaper, the smell of fresh baked pizza, and a friendly chorus of “Welcome to Bobby Lupo’s” greets customers as they open the door to one of Harker Heights’ fastest growing businesses.
Born and raised in Killeen, Ernie Safady shares the day-to-day management duties of Bobby Lupo’s New York Style Pizzeria with co-owner and retired Sgt. Maj. Dennis “B.J.” Benjamin.
Friends for the last 20 years, Safady and Benjamin opened Bobby Lupo’s on June 11, 2012. Although neither Safady nor Benjamin are from New York, they wanted to offer something unique in Heights.
Movie buffs may recognize the name Bobby Lupo from Steven Seagal’s movie “Out For Justice.”
“We are not a franchise,” Benjamin said. “You can’t beat the pizza. We make everything in-house.”
After a year in business, the restaurant has become so popular the partners have expanded into the space beside their original location and now offer a party room.
They’ve also installed two additional ovens and upgraded their computer systems.
“We just spent a lot of money,” Safady said. “Every computer here is brand new. We upgraded our software, and fixed a lot of the concerns we knew were there.”
Bobby Lupo’s offers pizza, Philly cheese steak, salads and funnel cakes, to name a few. Their best-selling pizza?
“Chicken bacon ranch. We make a specialty pizza every day and it will be posted on the board when you walk in the door,” Safady said.
On cue, Sophia Innocent, a nine-month employee, brought out that day’s special, “The Godfather,” which is essentially spaghetti on pizza.
Customers travel from all parts of Central Texas to eat at Bobby Lupo’s, such as Emily Wolgemuth of Kempner.
“I like the variety of options you don’t see at a lot of places,” she said. “My favorite is the Euro pizza that has olive oil instead of marinara.”
“We are glad we are here for the community and the locals,” Benjamin said.
What does the future hold for the owners of Bobby Lupo’s?
“We would love to have a Bobby Lupo’s Express that would be pick-up and delivery only, on the other side of town,” Safady said. “Although if someone came along and wanted to put us in retirement, we’d be open to that too.”
Herald/ Kathryn Leisinger