Fry Girl Finds Romance, Italian-Style, at Pino's Pizza Al Centro

An Italian farm boy leaves his home and family behind for the hot sun and his heart's true love in Phoenix, Arizona, where he opens a prosperous pizza joint and lives the American dream.

A Lifetime original movie? Hardly, but a delicious story like this one needs to be told.

With no intentions of leaving his family's farm in Basilicata, Italy, fate intervened on Pino Martnino, owner and prince of pies at Pino's Pizza Al Centro, on his first vacation to Phoenix, where he met his true love, Lucia. Martino returned to Italy, but his heart stayed with Lucia for two years until one chilly morning in 1992 when he was 24 years old.

"My family knew I was going to leave. They just didn't know when," says Martino. "One morning, I got up, and I knew it was going to be that day." Martino then adds remorsefully, "We didn't speak for two years."

As luck (and love) would have it, Martino and Lucia soon found themselves in the pizza-making business -- working hard, adjusting to the newness (and hotness) of Phoenix and raising a daughter along with daily doses of pizza dough. Does this romantic story translate to a pie you can fall in love with? Find out, in this week's Fry Girl column.

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