LOS ANGELES — Pizza has a special place in the heart of every New Yorker, but this love runs even deeper for Carmela Fuccio owner of Pizza Sociale in downtown Los Angeles. She opened the restaurant to honor her family traditions and welcome the community into her “home.”

At Pizza Sociale, it all starts with the dough, which is a simple recipe of flour, water and salt.

“I like it to be thin at the bite but still have the air in the crust, so it gives you that New York meets Neapolitan style,” Fuccio said.

As a born and bred Italian New Yorker from Brooklyn, Fuccio knows her pizza. Not only is there a shop on every corner where she comes from, but her mom would regularly whip up some pies for almost any occasion.

“Growing up, when we went to elementary school, everyone would bring cupcakes and my mom was like, ‘You have to bring pizza!’ At first, I was embarrassed, but then everyone loved it and was obsessed with it,” said Fuccio.

But she wasn’t always serving it. Fuccio learned everything from her mother at home but spent the last 20 years in the fashion and sales industry. After moving to LA 11 years ago, she missed that sense of tradition.

“LA has this cool energy and vibe, but the culture of New York, I mean, at the end of the day, there’s so much life there and community and pizza. New York to me is what you think of pizza,” said Fuccio.

So, two years ago she opened Pizza Sociale to welcome Angelenos in like family. Fuccio put everything she had into the business, but the pandemic made it difficult to survive and follow her dream.

“I’ve given this place my all, my entire savings. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s my third child. I’m not going to give up, but with the pandemic we never had a chance to catch up,” she said.

Fuccio continues to push through despite the obstacles, so she can feed the community and honor her mother who passed away six years ago. She does this by serving her family recipes like the meatballs. She changed the recipe a bit from her mother’s original creation, using only beef and stuffing them with cheese.

“Meatballs are always part of Sunday dinner. I’m very Italian. My mom always made them fresh,” she said. 

The meatballs aren't the only thing that's fresh. Nothing is frozen at Pizza Sociale and every ingredient from the dough to the sauce to the toppings are hand-prepared. The cheese is flown straight from a family friend in New York.

“It was so important for me to have that. Their mozzarella literally melts in your mouth. It’s fresh, and we buy it in bulk and I believe that's what separates us apart from everyone else,” said Fuccio.

You’ll find it on mostly every pizza from the classic margherita to the unique sausage and peppers, which is reminiscent of sandwiches you would find at Italian street festivals.

“When you come in here, I promise you, you will feel like family,” said Fuccio.

Become one of the family with a slice from Pizza Sociale located at 448 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. 90015.