Although J & S New York Pizza is a relatively new shop in Cary, the Cammarata family has been serving up homemade dough, sauce and other Italian dishes since 1980.
Josephine and Silvio Cammarata were born and raised in Sicily, Italy. They each came to America separately, not knowing each other. Josephine came in the 1960s, and Silvio arrived in 1972. One evening, the two met at a New York City Italian disco and fell in love at first sight. They married in 1974, while Silvio was in the construction business working on skyscrapers in New York City. When Josephine was pregnant with their first child, she told Silvio she could not live with the thought of him falling off a building. So, he went into the pizza business.
Silvio opened up his first pizzeria in 1980 in Brooklyn. Later, they had another pizzeria in Kingston, New York, which happened to be located next to an IBM plant. When the plant shut down, a lot of their regular customers transferred to North Carolina. They called continuously, asking the family to come to the Triangle for a better business opportunity. So, on Dec. 13, 1995, Josephine and Silvio opened up the first J & S pizzeria in Apex. Immediately it became a family business with their three children, Philip, Venera and Lori, working by their side.
“We continue to serve the same customers from New York,” Lori (Cammarata) Shaver says. “We have always built strong relationships with our customers.”
Their New York-style pizza remains a customer favorite, but the Cammaratas also serve pastas, salads, hot and cold subs, traditional and boneless chicken wings and other homemade Italian food.
By early 2007, the Cammarata children had all decided they would stick with the family business, so they began a search for a second location. The Fuquay-Varina location opened on Oct. 26, 2007. And now, 12 years later, they have opened up their Cary storefront.
The Cary location features a full bar with cocktails. Each of the restaurants offers a family-friendly dining atmosphere. And each member of the Cammarata family has a role and a set schedule at one or more of the three locations.
“We definitely enjoy having a family business, although it has its moments,” Lori says. “We are still siblings, after all. But I take pride in our work. Although things may not always be perfect, we strive for perfection. None of us have any regrets, and we are grateful we get to carry on what our parents worked so hard for.”
For customers with a love for extra meat, cheese, sauce and dough, consider ordering the stuffed pizza. This pizza weighs 15 pounds and is stuffed with pepperoni, ham, sausage, salami, meatballs and cheese. Pro tip: Request extra sauce as well!