By Sharon Still

Since the moment it opened its doors in Riverview in 2005, East Coast Pizza has been a hit with area residents, winning accolades such as Best Pizza of South Shore numerous times. Owner Aaron Fredricks credits the restaurant’s success to its loyal customers, incredible staff and lots of hard work.

“I cannot believe it’s been 10 years,” he commented.

Fredricks, age 24 when East Coast Pizza opened, explained that a lot has changed over the years. “I started out with no distractions,” he said, admitting that the restaurant became his life. Today, things are a little different. He is recently married to new wife Kristen, has an 8-year-old step son, Gary, and a baby due in September.

“I used to think I was going to open up 10 to 20 stores. Now, I am content with one,” he said, explaining that he puts all his energy in to making this one location the best it can be. “I have no plans for expansion in the future. There is still room for improvement here.”

Over the years the restaurant has added 2,800 sq. ft. to its original 1,300 sq. ft. and now features a dining area suitable for private parties and large groups. The staff has grown from about 20 employees to nearly 40. The next step is to add a bar, bench seats to the back room and coffee and more desserts to menu. A new oven and menu boards are also on the way. “I am hoping to have that all done by the end of the year,” he commented.

The new oven will be dedicated to the catering which he hopes to spend more time promoting.

“One of our keys to success has been keeping the menu simple and consistent and by doing that, I have been able to keep reasonable prices,” Fredricks stated.

Community involvement is also huge at East Coast Pizza. Fredricks is a member of the Greater Riverview as well as the South Shore chambers of commerce and participates in many of the groups’ events.

Fredricks says that the restaurant is consistently busy throughout the year, with about 1,500-2000 pizzas made weekly and he figures that more than 85 percent of customers are regulars. “We would not be here if it wasn’t for them.”

East Coast Pizza, featuring New York-style brick oven pizza, salads, heroes, pasta and more, is located at 13340 Lincoln Rd. (in the Ace Hardware Shopping Center) in Riverview. Visit www.eastcoastpizza.com or call 234-1700 for more information. Dine-in and take-out is available seven days a week.