Coco's Italian Market honors 55 years of making pizza, with a nod to their past

Coco's Italian Market Pizza
Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 19:53:46-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Of all the ingredients it takes to make a perfect pizza, time might be the most crucial. It's been over time, that the Cinelli family has gotten the recipe just right. "My mom - she’s been making pizzas since she was 18 years old, so if you want to do the math," said Chuck Cinelli, owner of Coco's Italian Market.

"Don’t do the math," interjected his mother Joan.

But then came the pandemic, and the Cinelli family worried Coco's Italian Market's run in Nashville might be in jeopardy. "It’s been a tough couple of years with the coronavirus and the restaurant business," said Chuck.

But the orders kept coming and their lights stayed on. So the family decided, it was time to return the favor. "We’re selling pizzas for 55 cents a slice," said Chuck.

That's right. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Coco's is selling slices of their delicious pizza for spare change.

"We came in and saw all the commotion. And we read the sign 55 cents a slice, we’re like wow what a good deal," said John Rose, one of the customers.

While this is the first time that the Cinelli family has cut pizzas this way, it's not the first time they've cut prices.

The year was 1978 in update New York. The businessman was Chuck's father, who went by the same name. He offered half-price gas as a way to mark his own birthday. "Lowered my gasoline price to accommodate -- the figure was 36, I’m 36 years old," Chuck Sr. said in an interview with the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.

Chuck Sr. also sold cheap gas to help out his neighbors in a tough economy. "Times were a little tough in 1978, so it was a give back to the community kind of gesture," said Chuck Jr.

The gesture was so profound, Hughes Rudd, a CBS correspondent at the time, did a lengthy story on the special pricing. "Well it isn’t really Chuck Cinelli’s birthday, but that doesn’t make any difference. When he says it’s his birthday, everybody gets so excited they have to call out the cops," Rudd said during the piece.

Chuck Jr. lost his father unexpectedly earlier this year. While he can't get more time with his father back, he can honor his generous spirit. So in honor of him, these slices are on sale for just 55 cents. "It honors how many years my family has been making pizzas," said Chuck Jr.

The sale ends Friday, October 1.