King's Pizza History - A Family Tradition
The Colandrea brothers lend authenticity to their growing chain of popular Italian Panhandle restaurants. There’s something endearing about a family-run business, especially a restaurant. Knowing there are blood ties behind the counter just seems to add character to a grub hub. King’s New York Pizza and Restaurant are run by the Colandreas, a large family of Italian-Americans who lend authenticity to their traditional Italian food.
Inwood King’s co-owner Dominico Colandrea, (everybody calls him Dominick) is behind the counter with his brother Andrea and several hired hands.
Dominick and Andrea have three other siblings. Except for a sister, Tina, who lives with her family in Florida, all of them live in the Eastern Panhandle and are active in the family business.
Brother-in-law Sal (who is married to Dominick’s twin sister Rosa) runs the King’s shop in Martinsburg. Brother Pasquale managers the original Kearneysville King’s. Dominick and Andrea split the managerial duties at the Inwood location.
“We grew up in the kitchen,” Dominick says. “We’d come home from school and go help out in my father’s restaurant.”
The Colandrea matriarch, Vincenzo, worked as a chef on a ship. After surviving three sinkings, he decided to get away from the water. When Dominick was 13, his father moved the family from their Naples, Italy, home to New Jersey where he opened an Italian restaurant called Brother’s Restaurant.
So how did this family end up in the Eastern Panhandle after living in New Jersey for so long?
Upon retirement, Vincenzo and his wife Maria, moved back to Italy in 1995. Vincenzo had a friend who ran the King’s Pizza in Kearneysville and also wanted to retire. Dominick and Pasquale came to see the restaurant and decided they liked it and the area. They bought the business and moved there. About a year later, Andrea and Rosa and Sal also moved here to expand their business.
After taking over the first King’s on May 1, 1998 (they decided to keep the restaurant’s name), business had thrived for the Colandreas. They say they like the area and have found Panhandle residents to be friendly and supportive.
They’re enjoying success and appreciating it because they know it’s not a given. Dominick tired his hand at an unsuccessful restaurant venture in New Jersey.
The Colandreas make their own pizza and spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, lasagna dough and more. They say their spaghetti with meat sauce and lasagna are the their most popular dishes.
Their varied menu also lots of very affordable options from hoagies to raviolis. Visible entrees on this day at various tables include hearty service on veal Parmesan, a monstrously thick club sandwich that looks like it took a pound of lunch meat to create and golden-battered onion rings that taste like they came from Atlantic City, NJ.
Though Vincenzo is proud of his offspring’s accomplishments, he wasn’t initially supportive of their desire to follow in his career footsteps. Andrea and Dominick say their father discouraged them from going into the restaurant business and urged them to go to college, but they knew what they wanted to do.
The secret to their success?
“We try to always be consistent,” Dominick says. “That’s how we get a good response.”
All King’s locations are open seven days a week, except for the Martinsburg location, which is closed on Sundays.