Melo’s Pizzeria is a garage-turned pizza place at 2438 McNair, Benton Park. It is located next to Blues City Deli. The hours have been changed to only operate during lunchtime from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday.
Although a day-only pizzeria may seem unusual, Joey Valenza (son of Blues City Deli owners Vince Valenza) says that the decision was made with his family in mind. Vince and Joey have five children, so the staff at both businesses is small. The team used to clock out of the deli’s lunchtime rush, and then clock in for the evening rush at a pizzeria.
Joey Valenza says, “We felt like… we were kind of burning the candle at both ends.” It’s a much better lifestyle for everyone. Everyone is happier now.
This change follows a busy period for the pizzeria. Blues City Deli was temporarily closed during the pandemic. The focus shifted to Melo’s, which offers a unique caramelized crust and deck-fired oven. Freshly made lemon Italian Ice is also available at the pizzeria. Melo’s gained a loyal following over time. Some patrons were unaware of the connection between the two Benton Park locations.
The owners now share the same hours for both restaurants to increase the emphasis on the relationship. Valenza says Melo’s frozen pizzas will soon be sold at the deli. He’s also trying out a Sicilian-style version of Melo’s pizza.
Valenza says, “We wanted to combine the pizza with more deli hours” and “marry the two a bit better.”