By Leila Dycus, Intern
Happy 20th birthday, Amici!
Last Thursday, Oct. 10, marked 20 years for the local restaurant. Amici opened its doors on Oct. 10, 1993 in Madison.
“We’ve had a great community-support following that has really made it feel like home for us here. That’s inspired us to carry forward all these years. I never really anticipated being in business anywhere for this long,” Owner Chris Torino said.
Although some things may have changed at the café, much has stayed the same, specifically the core concept, being a local pizzeria where people can gather with family and friends.
“We’d like to think that the core of our original concept is still intact,” Torino said.
And, just as Amici hopes to have impacted the Madison area, restaurant patrons have fueled the goal of the Italian café beyond community – serving great pizza.
“Originally we really just wanted to be a gourmet pizza joint. We wanted to make fresh, hand-tossed pizzas and serve fresh foods with a fun, friendly environment,” Torino said.
The sign outside of the Main Street eatery isn’t the only thing announcing the anniversary. In honor of their 20 years in business, each booth has a pizza box decorated with advertisements of the celebration. The ads also showcase the month-long deal of two, large, two-topping pizzas for $20 through October, another piece of the anniversary celebration.
On Oct. 10, friends and family joined together to celebrate Amici with an anniversary ribbon cutting. Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and City of Madison representatives came out to show the community’s support of the business.
“I think we provide a good service to a great community,” said Torino.
Torino stressed the importance of the community and how, because of the people of Madison, they have been able to stay in business for so long. Over the years, Torino said he has learned a lot about business and people and how every day presents new challenges.
The restaurant industry is one that is constantly changing and being flooded with new ideas and concepts. For Amici, the concept is simple: stick to what you know. The menu has changed a bit over the years, growing in size and choices, but now the café is honing in on what its good at, specialty pizzas.
Another major change over time? The expansion of the company.
The Madison Amici is the original restaurant. Since the Madison opening, the business has inspired six other stores in communities including Monroe, Covington, Lake Oconee, Athens and Milledgeville. And all of these stores have the same feel as the original.
“We try to create an atmosphere that’s like your second living room or your mother’s kitchen, but is out in the public,” Torino said.
One of Torino’s favorite aspects of the restaurant, he said, is the people he’s met in the process. The employees and partners are what make the Italian café different than other places.
Another 20th anniversary event – think deals on wings and a band – is slated for Oct. 26.