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Is Brother's Pizza Closing? It's Not as Simple as You Think

Both owners of Brother's Pizza talk about the longtime restaurant's fate as one owner packs up to move.

 

It’s still unclear whether Brother’s Pizza will remain open amid rumors it will close, but the original owner is set to officially back out of the restaurant to focus on Nick’s Pizza & Pasta, which he opened at the Shoppes earlier this year.

Tony Scotto is the co-owner of Brother’s who remains at the Acme location. He said this week the restaurant may stay open but his involvement isn’t known at this time.

Tony didn’t say much more on the topic except that it was “time” for him and other Brother’s owner Nick Scotto “to separate.”

Brother's suffered when Acme closed

Nick Scotto opened Brother’s Pizza in 1978. In 2000, he brought on longtime employee Tony Scotto as an equal partner. Despite the same last name, Nick and Tony are only related by marriage (Nick’s wife and Tony are cousins).

“There was never any doubt that Tony was a partner—50 percent,” Nick said.

Brother’s Pizza flourished until last year, when Acme closed in February and the foot traffic Brother’s was used to had dried up.

“When Acme closed,” Nick said, “I was entertaining the idea of moving.”

Nick said Tony was not interested in that. Around the same time, Nick was talking with a friend from the Shoppes who convinced him to consider the location to get the desperately needed foot traffic, he said.

“I took a vacation to Italy in May (2011),” Nick said. “When I got back, everything changed. That’s when all the problems started.”

Nick said he wanted to bring Brother’s to the Shoppes but Tony still didn’t want to move. Nick wanted to bring the name and phone number, but said Tony didn’t agree to that either.

Tony declined to to comment further on the topic.

The rent situation

Last year, when the business began to suffer, Nick said the two couldn't pay the whole monthly rent without dipping into their own pockets. The pair agreed to pay a percentage of the rent but the landlord came knocking, Nick said.

“If you don’t pay,” Nick said the landlord told them, “we’re going to lock the doors on you.”

A settlement was reached on the back rent, Nick said, and an agreement was made with the landlord for the rest of this year. But only for the rest of this year.

“It was the only thing for us to do,” Nick said. “We weren’t making enough money.”

So, Nick decided to back out completely to focus on Nick’s Pizza & Pasta. The two are currently figuring out where to go from here.

What’s next?

When Tony became co-owner, Nick said, there was only a verbal agreement—no written contract.

“My mistake is that I should have written something down,” Nick said.

Nick is still co-owner of Brother’s and since he’ll be parting ways with Tony, Nick wanted to be paid for half of the equipment.

“I should have protected myself more,” Nick said. “This was my mistake. But I never thought it would have ended this way.”

Both Nick and Tony have until Dec. 16 to sign an agreement that would reimburse Nick for the equipment at Brother’s, said Nick. That agreement also says Brother’s must change their name and phone number; neither entity would be able to use it.

“The food and recipe—they can do what they want,” Nick said. “I’m not going to make them change. If you got something that works, you’re not going to change it. That’s not why I am doing this.”

Nick said a third party may be involved with Brother’s now, but when asked, Tony declined to comment until next week.

“I did this because I think that Brother’s Pizza belongs to me,” Nick said. “If he agrees to it, we have a deal. I’m not here to hurt Tony or his family. But I’m here to protect mine. I have no problem with Tony. There is plenty of business in town for the both of us.”

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Michael Makinson November 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Best of luck to both Nick and Tony, Brother's Pizza and your families have been a big part of my family's Cinnaminson experience.
JS November 30, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I was wondering if the closing of Acme would have any impact or not. They have been here for so many years through many openings and closings, changes of use of that building, the moving of their business from back to front, etc. I was hoping that it would stay the same for them. Sorry to hear it end this way, but good luck on the new venture; Brothers' food has been a staple in Cinnaminson for a long time and I hope for many years to come.
Christine T November 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I wish both owners the Best of Luck. Myself, my family and friends have so many wonderful Memories of each of owners and their families. This article gives me the greatest respect for each owner. It is a fair understanding and shows no illfeelings whatsoever. I have personally spoken to Nick about both locations and he NEVER said anything negative about Brothers location. He was interested to know why I patronize Nicks. Asking if it was closer to my home. (which it is) He actually encouraged me to patronize both. Great article to help everyone understand. Kudos to the editor.
jennifer November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM
good luck to both parties!
Peggi Dickens Perry November 30, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Are the recipes the same at both?
George DeMirjian November 30, 2012 at 02:33 PM
It would be great if they could get back together. Them being apart is the worst part of all this. They are family, friends and partners for so many years... maybe that's the problem??? I hope they work it out. I really like both these guys and their families.
Jones November 30, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Glad this story was put out after that FB post! As I said before, definitely the people commenting who were jumping the gun. I hope that guy who knew the "real story" comments on this thread too.. I'm just curious on what he has to say now. Just seems like a disagreement that they can't get passed, and by the story I think Nick is being fair. I wouldn't want someone to have the name Brother's either, so it's fine that they both don't get it! Well, good luck to both sides! Sorry it had to happen this way!!
Connie H November 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Best pizza in NJ! I grew up with this pizza for 37 years and am sorry to hear Brothers is closing. Good luck to both Nick and Tony and their families. Thank you for your delicious pizza too!
FbS December 01, 2012 at 12:05 AM
We went to Brothers tonight for dinner and its as good as ever!
John December 05, 2012 at 06:40 PM
When the Acme closed the foot traffic stopped and so did alot of the profits went by the way side....I hope they can work it out....
Nancy VanTwistern December 06, 2012 at 06:20 PM
If they are closing in their present location I think it probably is a good move. Although we've continued to 'cross the highway' to get our pizza and sometimes lunches there, it no doubt does affect their business w/o other popular stores there. We will keep watch and buy their pizzas regardless of where they move.
Terrence Field December 07, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Tony better wake up..if he thinks business dried up when acme left he has a rude awakening coming. When china buffet or whatever is tripling your business...your in trouble. Haven't spent a penny over at brothers and won't again. Love the whole family but my loyalty lies with nick every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
John December 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Do they sell tuna hogies tooooo

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