Franco's Pizza has reopened as Santora's Pizzeria in Ocoee.
The venue reopened the first week of November serving pizza, wings, salad, ice cream and beer.
"While we are excited to open this new chapter, we also want to recognize all of the great things that were done before us at Franco's, as well as preserve the memory of the previous owner Debra Nix," Anthony Santora wrote on Facebook. "For the past two months, we have learned a lot from the community and some of Debra's close friends how much she meant to the community and this restaurant. I even had the pleasure of meeting her daughter. She told us a lot of great stories, and she said her mother would have been very happy with what we have done with the place. To be honest, I was very conflicted about buying this place. I knew that my vision was different than Franco's. It was always my dream to have a restaurant with my family's name on it. I was not worried about the hard work this place needed, my only concern was how do I do this without completely removing Debra's legacy."
Santora said although he initially walked away from the deal, something kept him coming back to the venue.
"I just kept coming up here and eating and talking to the people," he wrote in the post. "Something was drawing me. It finally occurred to me one day that it had to be me that bought this place because I knew that I would find a way to preserve it. I did not want to take the chance of someone else getting it and wiping it out completely. As you know, most business people would not think twice about anything, except how to make this place profitable. With that being said, I will be working with Kim Holland, one of Debra's dear friends and former employees of Franco's/Santora's, to ensure that we keep her memory alive for as long as I have this place. She is also going to be heading up all of our charitable events. We want Santora's to be a place that supports the community."
According to Santora's Pizzeria's website, in 1880, Anthony Santora’s great grandfather Antonio Santora migrated to America from Naples, Italy, bringing with him family traditions and recipes. One of his favorites traditions was gathering the family for dinner to enjoy his one-of-a-kind pizza sauce.
In 2009, Anthony Santora opened his first restaurant using his grandfather’s traditional recipes and signature sauce.
Santora's can be found at 5 W. Silver Star Road, Ocoee.
The restaurant is closed Mondays, open 4 to 8 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and open 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
For more information on Santora's Pizzeria, click here, or call (407) 877-4445.