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Nardone Bros. Baking Company – Made in NEPA image
Made in NEPA
February 28, 2022
Nardone Bros. Baking Company – Made in NEPA

Made in NEPA is a series that showcases locally based manufacturers and the products that they proudly create right here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at the companies and the impact they’re making in NEPA and beyond.

A Slice of Tradition


If you grew up in NEPA, you’d know that unmistakable white pizza box and the smell of warm, melty American cheese anywhere. Many locals were practically raised with the classic square cuts of Nardone Bros. pizza, whether it was a staple in your family’s fridge or a lunchtime treat at school. The best way to prepare it remains an age-old debate in the Valley, but one thing’s for sure: this pizza holds a lot of nostalgia.



Yet, the square pizza that everyone knows is only the beginning of what Nardone Bros. has to offer. Their facility in Hanover Township makes about 300 different products, from French bread pizzas to round pies to stuffed crust and everything in between. To put it into perspective, they spend about three or four hours per week producing the family-style square pizza that you’d see in the grocery store. The majority of the business is based on school lunch programs, not only here in NEPA, but also for some of the largest districts in the nation.

Even with their nationwide reach, Nardone Bros. is still a family-run business that remains true to their local roots. We talked with Mario and Tom Nardone, part of the third generation in the business, to learn how Nardone Bros. grew from a humble storefront to a household name.


Pizza Is a Family Legacy



Nardone Bros. has been based in Wilkes-Barre from the very start.

The company traces their roots back to Vincent and Maria Nardone, Italian immigrants who settled in Wilkes-Barre and brought their hard-working spirit with them. They opened a storefront on South Washington Street, where they offered canned goods and other staples.

“They were selling fresh bread for a nickel and three cents for day-old. There were no preservatives, so they took the stale bread, and they made breadcrumbs. And then, they would make pizza with the leftover dough that they had at the end of the day as a treat for themselves,” explained Tom Nardone.

Back then, everyone shopped at neighborhood stores, which were often based out of a family’s home. But soon, supermarkets moved into town, and many small shops simply couldn’t compete. The Nardones knew that they had to pivot. They began focusing on making pizza, which they could sell to the new supermarkets. They would also start making pizza for school lunches, which remains a major part of the business today.

The entire family pitched in, right down to Vincent and Maria’s children and grandchildren. By the late ‘60s, they built a new bakery on Hazle Street.

“Our moms would wake up at three in the morning and go down and get started at the bakery,” remembered Tom. “If they finished before five, they came home and cooked. After five, they went to Neddoff’s Restaurant, which was over the railroad tracks where Choice One Federal Credit Union is now. Five days a week. Our dads would come down at four-thirty or five, check on what things were going on, make any changes they needed to make. Then, they went and delivered the pizza, came home and went to put in the order for the next day.”

When they weren’t in school or playing sports, Tom and Mario remembered helping out at the bakery. Their generation essentially grew up in the business, from making boxes as kids to going out on delivery as they grew older.


NEPA Pizza Goes Nationwide



Cutting-edge equipment and a new facility would help the company grow to what it is today.

By 1991, the third generation took over and started to grow the business even more. They invested in new, modern equipment—a big leap for a family-run company—that would increase production from about 500 trays a day to up to 10,000. The changes meant that they could now land bigger contracts and compete at the national level. It also meant that they were outgrowing Hazle Street.

Luckily, Nardone Bros. had a piece of property in Hanover Township, where their current facility is today. For a while, they operated out of the two locations. Hazle Street made the crust, while the new facility would top, freeze and package the pizza. In 2015, the Hazle Street bakery caught on fire, and they would ultimately move everything up to Hanover Township.



Today, the facility is a little under 200,000 square feet and employs about 400 people, from factory workers to office staff to truck drivers. A bakery area is filled with special equipment that mixes, rolls, proofs and cuts the fresh dough, all while keeping the delicate balance between temperature, humidity and friction. Meanwhile, bustling production lines spread the sauce, layer on the cheese and toppings, freeze and package each product. Nardone Bros. makes different products day by day, but they can produce an estimated 20,000 pounds per hour. At that rate, this NEPA company can serve schools and retailers all over North America.

“We have distribution throughout the whole country, expect for maybe about five states. We also do Mexico and Puerto Rico,” explained Mario Nardone. “Probably about 70% is school lunch, and then, the rest is stores and supermarket chains.”

That reach includes some of the largest school districts in the country, including New York City, Los Angeles Unified and Miami-Dade, just to name a few.


An Iconic Taste of NEPA



In a region known for its pizza, Nardone Bros. has certainly made their mark.

The company has come a long way from the original bread shop on South Washington Street. But behind the high-tech equipment and nationwide success, the sentiment remains the same.

“We grew the business like our parents did,” said Tom. “We never said no.”

Nardone Bros. boasts something that many of the other big-name companies can’t: generations of experience and a long-time tradition of quality.

“We like to say, wherever we get a competitive shot at it, we win the bid,” he added. “If it’s based on quality, it’s hands down.”

To learn more about Nardone Bros. Baking Company, you can visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.