|With New Owners, Teddy's Pizza is Business as Usual |
|By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff|
05:28AM / Tuesday, November 07, 2023
|Teddy's founders Teddy and Susan Bilis, front left, have sold their 40-year-old restaurant to the Manning family. |
Patrick Manning, left, Wil Bilis, Teddy and Susan Bilis, and new owners Jennifer and Mike Manning.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — One of the city's oldest eateries has changed hands to another local family but remains open and unchanged.
Teddy's Pizza Restaurant on East Street has been purchased by Mike Manning, who is continuing its 50-year legacy as the long-loved pizzeria and family restaurant everyone knows.
"I grew up eating lunch here while at Pittsfield High and that's kind of like a generational thing," he explained. "Everybody comes here, and here we are and we decided to give it a go."
He emphasized that it will be the "same exact menu, same exact recipes, everything stays the same." On Monday, they were getting pizza training from the Bilis family, who opened Teddy's in 1974.
Manning and his wife, Jennifer, have a large family and one of their children, Patrick, will be working at Teddy's during the winter. The family owns three other businesses in the area including Patriot Driveway Inc. and will employ some pavers in the off-season.
"We're just really excited. Our kids all came through here and went to Pittsfield High and it's just iconic," Jennifer Manning said.
"We're excited to keep it going but we also have a lot to learn and these guys are being gracious and they're going to stay on and be a consult to us even after they're gone."
The new owners also plan to continue the tradition of supporting local sports teams.
There had reportedly been social media buzz wrongfully reporting that the East Street eatery was closing and the new owners wanted to clear the air, explaining that it has been a seamless handoff and the operation will not be affected.
Former owner Theodoros Bilis came to America from Greece at age 13. His wife, Susan, son and daughter Wil and Melissa, and her husband, Matt, were all employed at the restaurant.
"Give them a chance," Susan Bilis said. "That is one thing I want to stress."
She said the pizzeria has a lot of loyal customers including a four-generation family. Many locals remember getting two cheese slices with a side of ranch dressing while on lunch break at Pittsfield High.
"We're teaching them everything. He's going to do everything the same way," Bilis said, adding that the Mannings are "a nice family just like we were a nice family."
Teddy's is known for its pizza but the menu also offers grinders and subs, dinner and appetizers, and salads with a full bar to wash it all down.
Bilis joked that she will be relaxing and spending time with her family in retirement.
"I love Pittsfield no matter what people say about Pittsfield," she said. "I still love it here."