Back in the winter of 2002, I was driving back to Saugus after having breakfast at a diner in New Hampshire (I do not recall which diner). I was travelling south on Rte. 3A in North Chelmsford (just north of Vinal Square) and decided to finally stop and photograph Tony & Ann’s Drive-in Pizza stand. I had been driving by this place for years and had always thought about documenting it with some photos but never acting upon it.
Tony & Ann’s Pizza was not a remarkable building by any means but just one of those mom & pop type places that seemed to have been around for ever. When I shot it on that overcast wintery morning I had no idea that the business would close by the end of that year. Now these photos I shot were not the best but considering the lighting, they were not bad.
Here is the history of Tony & Ann’s from their website (http://www.tonyandannspizza.com/ ………………………………….
1953 – Tony & Ann Privitera open The Princeton Creamery on Princeton Boulevard in Chelmsford, MA. It was an Ice Cream stand that was originally part of The Princeton Lounge. Soon after, Tony (a baker by trade), creates a recipe for a unique style of pizza. Their customers sample it and as a result Tony and Ann’s Pizza is born.
1958 – Tony and Ann’s Pizza moves to it’s new home on Tyngsboro Road as a pizza-drive-in.
In the early 60’s Tony and Ann enclose an area to provide shelter to their customers during inclement weather thus creating the signature red & white facade that will be featured on a national televison series later on.
In the mid 70’s Tony and Ann’s places picnic tables around perimeter so their customers could enjoy pizza outside of their cars on pleasant sunny days.
In the early 80’s Tony and Ann’s move the picnic tables to the front of the pizzeria creating an open air dining room.
1998 – Tony and Ann’s is featured in 2 episodes of the popular animated televison show The Simpsons.
1999 – After 46 years of cooking his unique style of pizza and greeting generations of customers every weekend, co-founder Tony Privitera passes away in June.
2002 – December 7, after nearly 50 years, Ann and her family retire from making pizza.
Within the last couple of years I posted 1 of my photos on Flickr and received a couple of comments, one from old friend Rich Beaubien, who said he missed Tony & Ann’s and another from Bob Philpot. Bob is a long-time fan of Tony & Ann’s Pizza and has a webpage dedicated as an homage to the establishment. His page is at http://www.gatogato.com/images/tonyandanns.html and features relevent links and info including a video that shows Tony & Ann’s on “The Simpsons”!
Bob asked if he could use my photo on his webpage and I told him he could. I also sent him the other 2 photos I shot as well.
Through Bob I learned how much people loved and really missed this place after it closed. It made me want to try the pizza and unfortunately, I could not.
Well the story took a new turn 2 weeks ago when I noticed Charlie Terenzio, a friend on Facebook posted something about Tony & Ann’s reopening in a new location. I asked him about it and he sent a link and some other info. He also informed me that Tony & Ann’s was THE BEST PIZZA he had ever had.
I took a ride to shoot some photos of the new Tony & Ann’s Pizza which will be run by grandchildren of Tony & Ann and it is expected that the recipe for the pizza will remain the same.
I peeked inside and it looks like they have a little work ahead of them before the place is open but it is well on its way! I cannot wait to finally try a Tony & Ann’s Pizza! The new location is at 11 Broadway Road (Rte. 113) in Dracut, Mass.