By Marie Gilmore

It would be hard to find a business more connected to the community than Formaggio’s Italian Restaurant in Lithia. And, on July 10, the family-owned restaurant will have one more reason to celebrate. It marks 10 years in business for the restaurant.

Over the years, there have been some  improvements and enhancements to the pizza and Italian restaurant that opened in a renovated gas station at the corner of Lithia Pinecrest and Browning Roads. First,  there was the restaurant itself, opening as a cafe style pizzeria and now renovated and redecorated as an intimate family-friendly restaurant.

Tzilvelis added more to the pizza menu and expanded to both Italian and Greek specialties and salads. A food truck was added for events and festivals and then an express location in the Stein Mart anchored plaza, followed by a recently opened Express location across from River Hills offers convenient pick up.

In addition, Formaggio’s manages the concession stands at the FishHawk Sports Complex which has a percentage given back to the facility.

Now, Formaggio’s Italian Restaurant offers live music and other special events in the sit-down restaurant and will be hosting Karaoke from 9 p.m.-12 midnight every Friday through the summer.

Tzilvelis runs the restaurant with sons James and Michael and Donna Caruso, Anthony Caligiure and the rest of the loyal team. Three years ago, the company added its location in the Stein Mart-anchored center in Valrico and recently opened its third location across from River Hills in Valrico.

Caligiure is happy to be a part of the 10th anniversary celebration this month and says, ” For the longest time, Formaggio’s has been the place to go in the area. It is an icon because it’s is your community restaurant.”

Tzilvelis agrees, “We pride ourselves on being a neighborhood restaurant and we want to offer great food at a good price. With the Pizza truck, we can bring our great product and serve it hot where the people are.”

Formaggio’s offers catering and delivery from all locations. Lithia, open 4-9 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at 643-1415. Pizzeria Express Valrico store, located at 3474 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., at 681-4939 open every day 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday or Pizzeria Express at River Hills at 689-1744. For full menus or more information, visit or look for Mr. Formaggio on Facebook.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!