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Foodie File: At Italiano's N.Y. Pizza, Marine now a proud pizza-maker

And now, a restaurant — Above, disabled Marine Corps veteran Chuck Hartfiel serves a slice of “Works” pizza to Katie Kirkpatrick. Hartfiel also worked as a letter carrier, firefighter and jail employee before retiring in 2012 and buying Italiano’s N.Y. Pizza in Deltona, which he has since expanded. The house salad at Italiano’s, pictured at left, comes with a generous portion of shredded mozzarella cheese.

And now, a restaurant — Disabled Marine Corps veteran Chuck Hartfiel serves a slice of “Works” pizza to Katie Kirkpatrick. Hartfiel also worked as a letter carrier, firefighter and jail employee before retiring in 2012 and buying Italiano’s N.Y. Pizza in Deltona, which he has since expanded.

BEACON PHOTOS/WILL KIRKPATRICK

The house salad at Italiano’s, pictured here, comes with a generous portion of shredded mozzarella cheese.

The house salad at Italiano’s, pictured here, comes with a generous portion of shredded mozzarella cheese.

After working 20 years as a letter carrier, 15 years as a firefighter in Minnesota and Volusia County, and 11 years in law enforcement at the Volusia County Branch Jail, Marine Corps veteran Chuck Hartfiel decided to do something different.

He bought a pizza restaurant.

After retiring from Volusia County in 2012 at the age of 55, Hartfiel was on the verge of buying a convenience store when he learned he would have to put down a $25,000 deposit just to get his first delivery of gasoline. The broker he was working with had some advice.

“Buy pizza. Get into pizza,” Hartfiel recalls him saying.

As it happened, a friend of Hartfiel’s who was working in real estate had just the right listing: Italiano’s N.Y. Pizza, in the shopping plaza at 1229 Providence Blvd. in Deltona. It was the site of Deltona’s original Pizza Hut.

Hartfiel took over the 10-seat, two-oven pizzeria in February 2013. Just four years later, he has expanded into the storefront next door, and now, with a total of 40 seats, can brag that he owns Deltona’s largest pizzeria.

“The restaurant is thriving and growing more every day,” Hartfiel said.

How does someone grow a complicated business like a restaurant with no experience in the industry?

“Hire the best people I can,” Hartfiel said. He’s proud that two of his pizza-makers are from New York, and one is from California.

Hartfiel also did some renovating after buying Italiano’s.

“I upgraded everything in the kitchen,” he said.

Beacon advertising consultant Will Kirkpatrick and his wife, Katie, visited Italiano’s recently.

They said the dining room is spacious, allowing for customer comfort during meals and making Italiano’s a good choice for families looking for dinner for an affordable cost.

Will and Katie shared a starter of calamari and a house salad before moving on to the 12-inch, hand-tossed “Works” pizza. Will noted the bread and the marinara sauce are both made in-house at Italiano’s.

The Kirkpatricks are now among the many Italiano’s fans.

“I will frequent this restaurant anytime I’m in Deltona,” Will said.

Katie added, “The avocado ranch sauce is to die for.”

Both of them complimented the attentive service, as well.

Hartfiel said he has no regrets about his late-in-life career change to restaurant owner, despite being on duty regularly from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week. While it’s busy, he said, it’s nothing like his decade at work in the county jail.

“I dealt with them all,” he said of those days. “I dealt with [convicted Deltona massacre ringleader Troy] Victorino when he did the murders here in Deltona. … I could write a book.”


FOODIE FILE

Seating options: Indoor

Types of service: Table service, with delivery and takeout also available

Kid-friendly: Yes

Pet-friendly: No

Reservations: No

Dress code: Casual

ITALIANO’S PIZZA FOODIE FILE

Cuisine: New York-style pizza, calzones, wings, etc.

Beverages: Soft drinks, bottled beers and red wine

Prices*: $-$$

Location: 1229 Providence Blvd., Suite H, Deltona

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Our bill for two meals, plus appetizers: $32.99

*$ $1 to $10

$$ $11 to $20

$$$ $21 to $30

$$$$ $31 or higher

- Vanessa Pention, intern@beacononlinenews.com

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