Brothers bring family recipes, love of oven-baked pizza to Oak Creek |

Brothers bring family recipes, love of oven-baked pizza to Oak Creek

From right, owner Dominic Franciosi, chef Isaac Mekker and owner Anthony Franciosi stand in front of an Italian-made brick oven that will be used to create the pizza's at Franciosi Brothers Pizza, which had a soft opening last weekend in Oak Creek.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Family was at the top of Anthony and Dominic Franciosi minds when the brothers decided to open a restaurant on main street in the heart of Oak Creek this spring.

“That’s what we want — a family place,” Anthony said of Franciosi Brothers Pizza. “This is meant to be a family place, you know, the kind of place kids can watch the pizza get tossed.”

The restaurant, located at 112 W. Main Street in Oak Creek, takes over the space that was built by local legend Dinty Moore in 1971 and has housed Rachel’s Smokin’ BBQ and Café, which was in business in Oak Creek for two decades.

The barbecue closed its doors earlier this spring, and Anthony said his family purchased the property with hopes of bringing Oak Creek a little taste of the East Coast, one slice at a time.

Anthony grew up in New Jersey, and when he moved to the area 13 years ago, he brought a collection of long-held family recipes and a love for brick-oven style pizza.

Anthony said he has worked in the restaurant business on and off for the past 17 years, but Franciosi Brothers Pizza will be the first time he has owned a restaurant of his own, and it will also be the first time that the public gets a taste of the recipes that have been passed down in his family for generations.

“When our great grandfather Giuseppe Franciosi came to this country, he didn’t have much in the way of material things, but food, friends and family were always in abundance,” the Franciosi Brother’s website says. “We celebrate his spirit by sharing the recipes and traditions he passed along.”

The restaurant will be open from noon to 8:30 p.m. seven days a week and will serve pizza — whole and by the slice — sandwiches, small plates, salads and draft beer provided by Ratio Beerworks out of Denver.

“It’s thin-crust brick-oven pizza, and we do house-made meatballs from an old family recipe,” Anthony said. “We also serve meatball sandwiches, cheese steak sandwiches and chicken wings along with the pizza.”

The menu includes eight pizzas made using the Franciosi family dough recipe and an East Coast mozzarella blend cheese. Choices range from the basic cheese and pepperoni pizzas to the more involved Margherita, buffalo chicken and the ultimate pie. There is also a meat lovers and veggie lovers depending on your personal preferences.

Anthony said the meatball sub sandwich was a popular choice on opening weekend, and the restaurant also offers the Oak Creek cheesesteak and a chicken parm. Small plates includes meatballs and burrata, garlic knots, breaded ravioli, crispy brussels, calamari and truffle fries.

Anthony lives in Oak Creek with his wife and also owns and operates Honest Marijuana. His brother Dominic followed him to the area and will join him in this business venture.

The two brothers have hired chef Isaac Mekker, who has a pizza background.

“He is the pizza sauce guy, and he has added a lot to the menu and the concept and is really talented young man, for sure,” Anthony said.

The restaurant has four booths and three tables at this time spaced adequately for the new regulations brought on by COVID-19. The open layout gives customers a good view as their pizzas are created in the back and placed in the brick oven to be perfectly baked.

Anthony was thrilled with the response the restaurant got during its soft opening last weekend and said it was a learning experience for the business after the demand was far greater than he expected. He was thankful for Brooklynn’s Pizzeria in Steamboat that came to the rescue by letting him borrow some cheese to make his pizzas after he ran out on Friday night.

“I never dreamed that we would be as busy as we were, to be honest,” Anthony said. “There’s a learning curve for sure. Luckily, we did better on Saturday, but we are still learning.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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