MASON, Ohio -- A Mason pizzeria is hoping for a boost in business after it received its 60 minutes of fame during a national TV broadcast.
In the episode, Chef Robert Irvine travels to the eatery at 312 Reading Road to rescue the pizzeria and help owner Tony Aponte gain time with his family.
According to Aponte's website, the restaurant prides itself on making its dishes with the "best ingredients to ensure customer satisfaction. We take pride in every dish we serve."
In order to enhance that mission, Irvine and his crew spent $10,000 over two days in June to give the pizzeria an enhanced menu, a new feel and a general makeover.
The redesigned menu on Aponte's website includes a variety of traditional Italian-American classics such as calzones, pizzas and stromboli. It also features multiple appetizers and entrees such as eggplant parmesan, lasagna and, everyone's favorite, spaghetti and meatballs.
Aponte's traditionalists have no reason to fear. The always-popular garlic knots ("oven hot knots of bread dusted with garlic and parmesan") are still on the menu.
Tony Aponte told 9 On Your Side he approached the project with trepidation.
"I'm from (New) Jersey, I've got a bad attitude as it is," he said. "I didn't know if I could handle someone getting in my face."
Since the project, the restaurant has been open for business and customers have made their way to the Internet to make their opinions known. It currently has a 4-out-of-5-star rating on Yelp! (31 reviews), but is receiving mixed reviews since the June remodel.
Some users gave the eatery 5 stars since the "Restaurant Impossible" visit, saying the TV show helped enhance a product they already loved.
Poster "Cathy L." is one such poster. On June 23, in her first post on the site, she wrote: "Visited (Aponte's) with my family last night after the 'Restaurant Impossible' makeover. We always loved (Aponte's) before and love it even more now."
Others said the restaurant has changed since the remodel but not necessarily for the better.
"As a born (and) raised Yankee I have loved Aponte's. But since Restaurant Impossible has been (there) they have raised their prices. Two pizzas came to $50!!" wrote poster "George M." on June 22. He gave the eatery 1 out of 5 stars.
The pizzas on Aponte's menu come in two sizes and are either $12 or $23.
Poster "Ron H." gave the restaurant 3 out of 5 stars in a post on July 21. He describes himself as a longtime Aponte's-goer who noticed the changes to the eatery but isn't quite sold one way or the other.
"I've eaten at Aponte's (since) they first opened on Reading Road. The calzones were amazing. I agree with other reviews that this is true East Coast fare. It will be (interesting) to see how the story is told when Restaurant Impossible airs next month. New floor, tables and lights, and you can see Robert Irvine's touch on the menu."
You can read other reviews or post your own at the following link: http://www.yelp.com/biz/apontes-pizzeria-and-restaurant-mason
Aponte’s hosted a watch party Sunday evening in its rear parking lot.
If you became hungry during the show, you knew where you could order a pizza.
Hours: Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday: Closed; Tuesday - Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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