Familiar face takes over family pizzeria

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When you love something, you work hard for it.

That’s the ethos behind Eddie's Pizza and Pasta, formerly known by Ridgefield eaters as Piccolo.

New owner Edmar Carneiro started at the restaurant as a dishwasher two decades ago. He rose through the ranks, climbing the ladder from food preparation to pizza maker to assistant line cook to assistant manager to manager. When the opportunity to own the business came up, he didn’t hesitate.

“When I first got to this country, I was working three jobs at one time but I always envisioned owning my own place,” said Edmar, a Brazilian native. “To be able to reach that dream is something very special.

“I worked hard and saved my money; I just knew it was going to happen,” he added.

Re-naming the pizzeria, which now has no affiliation with any other restaurant, was an easy decision. That’s because Edmar has been behind the main counter on Prospect Street every day and knows every customer.

“I always wanted to call my place Eddie’s Pizza and Pasta,” he said. “It has nice ring to it.”

“Everybody who knows him calls him Edmar, Ed, Eddie,etc.” added assistant manager Christa Lowenstein, who’s been working with Edmar at the restaurant for 12 years. “They know his face and know he’s going to take care of them.”

The response to the new name has been great.

“Our customers see how much this place means to him and how hard he’s worked for it,” Christa said. “Edmar knows what people like because he’s been working here from open to close for 20 years.”

Edmar feels the job hasn’t changed much since taking over as owner. The biggest difference is he’s free to make decisions — like changing the restaurant’s interior decor to create a Tuscan aesthetic.

The business is more of a collaboration these days with Edmar in charge.

“He’ll ask every employee what they think,” Christa said.

As a result, Eddie’s has brought back old favorites, like the Mambo Italiano sandwich or the Squidward’s Delight seafood appetizer.

The collaboration has yielded a gluten free menu, too. And, the business, which has always offered all-day delivery, now has its own app through ChowNow for customers to download and make ordering easier than ever before.

Of course, traditionalists can order online at eddiespizzapasta.com or call 203-438-8200. And those who love coupons should know Eddie’s will match any offers from competing businesses.

“If they’re doing it, we’ll do it, too,” Christa said.

“We’ll also customize anything to make it the way you want it.”

That personalization is integral to the spirit of Eddie’s.

“I’ve always wanted to have a place where people can eat good food and have great service in a beautiful environment,” he said. “Nothing makes me happier when people who love the place bring new family members or friends. That means they’re part of this business as much as we are, and that’s what we’re striving for.”

Eddie’s Pizza and Pasta is located at 24 Prospect Street. It’s open from 11 a.m. 9 p.m. every day.