‘Tony’ sells up after 30 years in the pizza business

By James Arbuthnott

IF YOU have been around Kyabram and district over the past 30 years chances are you have ordered a pizza from Tony.

He's the veteran dough-thrower from Tony's Pizza Restaurant on the corners of Allan and Bishop Streets who has seen it all.

From starting as a pizzamaker in 1989 to then buying the place from its original owners in 1992, Tony is the country culinarian who greeted you after Hurley's closed, the Kamikaze Ball finished, or handed you your pick-up order before a movie night with the family.

He's the man who knows what you eat.

“My name isn't Tony,” said the veteran dough-thrower, who would now like to retire under his birth name Rob Vigliaturo.

“I inherited the name Tony with the shop, and everybody knows me as that, but I’m retired now.

“I even got this shirt made saying ‘My Name Is Not Tony’ on the back.”

He says it used to be all Aussies and Hawaiians back in the 90s, but now we are ordering more Mexicanas and pizzas with olives.

But after 30 years of making pizza for Kyabram and district, it’s time for Rob to hang up the apron and hand over the dough to the new Tony in town.

His name is Himan.

And he plans to keep the recipes which have kept Kyabramites coming back for decades.

“I’ve seen this town go through drought, factories closing down and going up in my time at Tony’s,” Mr Vigliaturo said.

“Kyabram has been a very loyal town and the people look after each other, over the years I’ve sponsored footy and netball clubs in Ky, Girgarre, Stanhope, all around the area.

“Another highlight has been employing locals and watching them grow up and now some of their kids work here – it makes me feel my age though.

He’s had fruit pickers and backpackers from as far as Queensland stop past his pizza shop year after year and he’s sorry to see the place go, but he won’t be going far.

Mr Vigliaturo plans to spend more time at home and to “take it easy” now he’s handed over the keys to Tony’s new owners, and he will forever feel a part of the town.

“It’s been a great feeling to be able to produce something that people enjoy, it’s part of why I’ve done it for so long.

“I showed Himanshu the recipe and he doesn’t plan to change a thing, he knows it’s what they like.

“Why fix what isn’t broken.”