diPiazza's a Great Family Tradition
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 7
By Carin Merritt
Mark & Maralyn diPiazza
It is evident immediately upon walking in the door of diPiazza’s how much love is really put into the place. Owners Mark and Maralyn diPiazza clearly love their food, which is mostly home-made. They love providing music, which is available seven nights a week, and they love each other, which shows in their body language and their simple glances at each other. They work well together, everyday.
There’s a slight stigma surrounding diPiazza’s, but Mark and Maralyn make no secret about what their venue is about. “My niche is music,” says Mark, “the concept here is that we’re a family restaurant, a family venue, most bands I book are very respectful, and they are thrilled [to play here] because they want to do all age events.”
Arguably, most restaurants lack the ability to provide the type of opportunities to their surrounding community that diPiazza’s does. Their food, Italian based, is original and phenomenal. The place is clean inside and out with a musically inspired,
Austin style, eclectic decor. It’s a safe haven that opens its doors as an area for kids and adults of all ages to gather, hangout, and let loose. Recently, they have taken upon the task of opening for lunch.
The diPiazza name has been around southern California since 1952, when Grandma diPiazza brought the first pizza to Long Beach. diPiazza’s has gone through many location changes, including an existance on Belmont Shore, Anaheim St.., and inside the late bowling alley, Java Lanes.
In 2000, Mark and Maralyn moved into the building where the current diPiazza’s now stands and “will stay for a long time.” They have remained extremely successful to date “because we are a very strict, family run place,” asserts Mark, “my wife and I are always on premise.”
Located at 5205 E. Pacific Coast Highway at Los Altos Plaza in Park Estates, Mark explains his concept; “we’re an all age venue, which you don’t see in Long Beach. [I want] young kids at the age of 12 or 13 to have a place to start playing. All the high school kids know diPiazza’s, and by the time they are 21 they have already known us for six or seven years.”
Their solution for safety makes this place even more of a gem. “When the music is over, we close. We don’t want the 1:30 a.m. crowd coming in. We have security guards, cameras everywhere, wristbands for those over 21 years of age and, separately, for those under 21. We have no problems.”
Maralyn spends most of her time joyously in the kitchen, and really wanted to open diPiazza’s for lunch. Encouragement from regulars helped them decide to give daytime a try. diPiazza’s is now open at 11a.m. Mon. - Fri. with dine-in, delivery and take-out services. Happy Hour prices, available from 3-6 p.m., really can’t be beat. Drink specials include $2.50 pints, $4 wines, or $2 off premium beers.
A full menu is available at lunch, including Happy Hour appetizers for only $4. These entail classics such as mozzarella sticks and potato skins as well as their lovely invention called broken hearts: lightly breaded quartered artichoke hearts served with a homemade ranch and divinely roasted red pepper aioli sauce. A two item, 10 inch pizza of the guest’s choice is also available for the same price.
Mark and Maralyn have been as creative as they are traditional; the appetizer menu includes a basket of crispy fried pepperoni chips, as if pepperoni wasn’t already delicious on its own! For healthy options, an all vegetarian, cheese-less pizza is available.
Undeniably, diPiazza’s has great food made by true professionals who carry culinary skills through their veins and in their hearts. Mark and Maralyn plan to keep running a venue that has given positivity to everyone growing up in the community.
Mark says, “Coming in late April, there will be a 16 piece orchestra that plays here once a month. It is all 60 and 70 year olds! People love it, this place goes nuts.”
For more information on event dates and menu options, visit diPiazza’s website at http://www.dipiazzas.com.