April 1, 2020

Facing The Challenge, Tony And His Staff Move Forward

by Joe Bonadio

We’ve all been hit hard by the events of the last few weeks, and as difficult as it might be to adapt, people are starting to do it. Thankfully, as San Franciscans, we’re resilient—and more than up to the challenge.

With the abrupt cessation of eat-in service, restaurants have taken a massive hit. And with no clear end in sight, Tony and his staff have been working hard to pivot to the new reality and keep things moving. That being said, we’ve got some cool new things to report:

First off, Tony’s has launched a Virtual Tip Jar for North Beach, where customers can tip their favorite server or bartender who is out of work because of the lockdown. It’s easy to do—just choose the person you’d like to tip and the amount. It accepts Venmo, PayPal or Cash App, and the money goes directly into the person’s account. It’s one way to help out workers who are struggling, and remind them the community has their back.

Washington Square Park

Right across from Tony’s, Washington Square Park is a perfect spot to enjoy your pizza in the open air. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

With social distancing on everyone’s minds, Tony’s has also instituted a couple of changes to help limit the spread of germs. For instance, as of this week, all takeout customers receive their own Tony’s-branded pen to sign their receipt. This is ideal because they can take the pen with them, keeping the transaction germ-free. And Tony is doing one better: every time a customer brings the pen back to sign for their order, they’ll get 10% off. “Branded pens, that’s something you might do once when you first open,” Tony explains. “But I realized it’s actually perfect for right now. That’s a customer for life.”

To ease lines amid the increased demands of takeout, Tony’s is also offering what they call Pizza Valet. When you call in a takeout order, the staff will actually bring your pizza directly to your car at the curbside, no parking necessary. Just check out the Pizza Valet menu at and give them a call, and they’ll have your pie ready to go in 30 minutes or less.

For those who are working on their kitchen game during the lockdown, make sure to check out Tony’s sibling market, Giovanni’s Italian Specialties (just around the corner from Tony’s on Union, for any newbies out there). The small shop is chock full of Italian specialty products of all kinds, making it a perfect stop for home chefs. (And don’t tell too many people, but I hear they’ve even got some T.P. on hand.)

Unsurprisingly, one item that has been very popular lately is their Pizza Kit, which gives you everything you need to make your own fresh pizza at home: Tony’s sauce and dough, along with cheese and either pepperoni or salame. Nothing cheers up a kitchen like a little pizza party, and it’s a kick to bake your own–and for the time being, you can’t get a fresher pie.

Keeping the staff working has been one of the main points of focus at Tony’s, and they’ve come up with a couple of cool new ideas to do just that. This week, with the loosening of ABC restrictions for liquor, they’ve begun offering 4 oz. and 6 oz. bottle cocktails for delivery and takeout, served up in a nifty flask-style bottle. And just to make it fun, they’ve put together a Cocktail Challenge between the bartenders to see whose drink sells the best.

Elmer Mejicanos, Bar Manager at Tony's Pizza Napoletana. | Photo: Tony Gemignani
Stephanie Danese, current frontrunner in the Cocktail Challenge. | Photo: Tony Gemignani
Robvell Smith, longtime Tony's bartender and North Beach O.G. | Photo: Tony Gemignani

This week there are three contenders, Robvell Smith, Steph Danese and Elmer Mejicanos. Each of them has come up with their own cocktail: This week, Elmer’s ginning up a Grapefruit Rose Collins, Steph’s mixing Noisy Boys—and naturally, Robvell’s making the That’s How I Roll, his signature cocktail. $12 each or $30 for all 3, they’re available for pickup and delivery through UberEats, Caviar and Door Dash.

Just post your cocktail pic or video, tag us and use #TeamElmer, #TeamStephanie or #TeamRobvell to cast your vote. And BTW, the bartender lineup changes next week, and it’s gonna be Capo’s vs Tony’s. For all you March Madness mourners, this is the kind of competition that’s sure to ease your pain.

Jules Gregg hosts 'Jules Wine Shop'

Jules Gregg hosts ‘Jules Wine Shop’ At Tony’s Pizza Napoletana Tuesdays and Fridays from 2:30-5:30pm. | Photo: Sarah Inloes

Lastly, Friday marked the launch of yet another new offering: Jules Wine Shop. Jules Gregg, longtime Wine Director at Tony’s, will be hosting customers at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (one at a time, mind you), to talk about a selection of wines from Piemonte in Northern Italy. It’s a great chance to learn a little bit about the wine you’re drinking, and all wines in the selection will be discounted close to retail. Come down and chat with Jules (5-time winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence), and bring home something delish to enjoy with your meal.

That’s all for now, but there is a lot more to come. Remember, Tony’s kitchens are rocking six days a week for you, so come down if you can, or just call your favorite delivery service. Please be careful and stay safe, and we’ll see you in the neighborhood soon.