The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

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By Tim Hadac

Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule.

Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop.

Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner wants but almost nobody has.

Same tavern-style cut, wrapped in a paper bag (never a box), same friendly restaurant managers, staff and delivery drivers.

“The pizza here is unique and it’s delicious—it’s easy to understand why it has been so popular for so many years,” said John Caputi, the owner of Obbie’s for a month now. “I’m not changing a thing.”

Caputi also said making no changes to the food was a promise he made when he bought Obbie’s from its longtime owner, Rich Torpy.

Torpy bought the pizzeria in 1977. It had been a Geneo’s Pizza established in 1960.

“We opened our doors to Obbie’s on March 1 of 1977. I was 21 years old,” Torpy said recently. “What started out as employees and customers turned out to be family. Your smiles, stories and the community we have built together are treasures I will carry with me forever.

“After 47 wonderful years, the time has come for me to embark on a new chapter in life,” he continued. “It was not an easy decision, but I am thrilled to announce I have found someone who will preserve the legacy and continue to serve the food you have come to love. He shares my passion for our craft and commitment to quality. Jeff, Jim and all of our employees are staying exactly the same, as are all of the recipes and ingredients. You can be assured you can continue to enjoy the same Obbie’s you have loved for the last 47 years.”

Torpy said he hopes his customers “will join me in welcoming the new owners with the same kindness and support you have shown me over the years.”

Caputi, 59, grew up in suburban Addison. The son of an Italian immigrant father who worked in the food industry, he started out helping his dad by making deliveries of Italian sausage and other wholesale products to pizzerias.

“Early on, I took an interest in [pizzeria] kitchens and how they operated,” Caputi said. “Sometimes I’d even make a pizza. It was a lot of fun.”

That interest led him, over the years, to own and operate about a dozen pizzerias across the suburbs, including as a franchisee for Rosati’s and as an independent elsewhere.

Currently, Caputi owns three pizzerias besides Obbie’s: the Rosati’s in Darien, Ats-A-Nice Pizza in Romeoville, and Villa Rosa, 5786 S. Archer.

Despite their proximity to each other, Caputi sees no significant clash between Obbie’s and Villa Rosa.

“They seem to have their own set of customers,” he said. “Both sets are loyal and like the pizza and other food they order. Both pizzerias are doing well and will continue to do well.”

Regarding Obbie’s, Caputi said he plans to advertise their broasted chicken more.

“Obbie’s pizza is so popular that I wonder if maybe a lot of people don’t know how good their chicken is,” he said. “It’s tremendous. It’s at least as good as anywhere else out there.”

While the food remains as is, Caputi has switched up the front lobby a bit, changing the location of the customer service counter and installing a new point-of-service computer system designed to make taking orders easier. Caputi also plans to make it easier to order online and to accumulate points via a “rewards” program.

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