Renato's Pizza: The best-kept secret in Niles

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What: Renato’s Pizza, 401 Vienna Ave., Niles, OH 44446

Phone: (330) 544-7110

Summer hours: (May through October) Monday, 4 to 8 pm; Tuesday, 11 to 8 pm; Wednesday through Saturday, 11 am to 9 pm; Closed Sundays

Winter hours: (November through April) Monday, 4 to 8 pm; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 9 pm; Closed Sundays

No orders taken after 8:45 pm


Renato’s Pizza is often called “the best kept secret in Niles,” and after one bite of this restaurant’s Chicago style pizza I immediately understood why.

With pizza this perfect, how had I never heard of this place?

“We don’t do a lot of advertising,” said Laura Cupillari, who owns Renato’s along with her husband, Mauro Cupillari. “Most people learn about us through word of mouth.”

If that’s the case, then I’m here to spread the word in a big way: Give Renato’s a try! You won’t be disappointed!

The aforementioned Chicago style pizza is a stuffed delight with the most perfect crispy-chewy crust ever. It is a hearty, hefty meal that will fill you up and then some. It’s affordably priced, too, at $18 for a 16-inch and $20 for an 18-inch.

“Chicago style pizza means different things to different people,” Laura said. “Ours is a stuffed pizza made like you’d make a pie, except this pie has sauce, pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella.”

Laura comes from a long line of pizza makers.

“My family is Italian, and we’ve been making pizza for many generations,” she said.

Mauro, who was born in Italy and came to America about 10 years ago, shares his wife’s passion for Italian cooking. He and Laura operate the restaurant by themselves getting help occasionally from family members.

“We are primarily a carry-out restaurant,” Laura said. “We only have seating for about eight people.”

The couple named their restaurant after their son, Renato, age 9.

“When Renato isn’t in school he is usually here with us, helping,” Laura said.

The restaurant has been at its current location at 401 Vienna Avenue for about two years. Before that it was located on Robbins Avenue in Niles.

In addition to the Chicago style pizza, Renato’s serves a New York style pizza (including a Brier Hill pizza and white pizza) and a Sicilian style pizza (thick crust).

Specialty pizzas include veggie (spinach, banana peppers, tomatoes and broccoli); pirogi (white pizza with mashed potato, mozzarella and cheddar); taco (sauce, sausage, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives and cheddar); chicken-bacon-ranch (with mozzarella); and arrabbiata (white spicy with ham, sausage, salami, capicolla, onions and red crushed pepper).

In addition to its pizzas, Renato’s has earned a reputation for its amazing Strombolis.

The family-sized Stromboli ($18) is truly gigantic and stuffed with pepperoni, ham, salami and cheese. The single-serve Stromboli is $8 and also rather humongous. In fact, it looks more like a serving for three or four people.

“People always remark that the single-serve Stromboli is big enough for a family,” Laura said with a laugh.

The options for single-serve Stromboli include: fantasy Stromboli, which is prepared with your choice of five toppings; deluxe Stromboli with pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and onions; chicken Stromboli that features chicken, bacon, green peppers, onions, cheddar cheese, mozzarella and spicy ranch; steak Stromboli with steak, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and cheese; arrabbiata Stromboli featuring white spicey with ham, sausage, salami, capicolla, onions and red crushed pepper; a new Italian Stromboli with ricotta, sauce, green peppers, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni; and a new meat lovers Stromboli with pepperoni, sausage, ham, meatballs and bacon.

If you’re craving an Italian-style dinner, try Renato’s cannelloni ($12), its manicotti ($12), the stuffed shells ($12) or the cavatelli with meatballs ($12). All dinners come with salad and Renato’s famous garlic knots.

“We are the makers of the original garlic knots,” Laura said. “Other restaurants around here serve them, but we were the first to have them.”

These delicious, doughy rolls feature a dusting of parmesan and fresh basil and are seasoned with garlic oil. With a side of marinara, the garlic knots are a meal in their own right.

Renato’s also offers salads and subs.

Every Monday and Tuesday patrons can get a 16-inch New York style cheese pizza for $9. Wednesdays and Thursdays any size pizza (except 10-inch or specialty) comes with a $1 discount.