Rosati’s Pizza in Valrico, whose first year in business has been a thrilling roller coaster ride, is celebrating its one year anniversary on Tuesday, February 20 with menu specials and gift card giveaways.

Store owner Whitney Tucker recalls the whirlwind training her employees received, some of whom had never heard of deep dish or Italian beef. Then she went from training to the largest opening Rosati’s Pizza had ever seen. An overwhelming turnout of community support during the restaurant’s opening rivaled sales at Rick Rosati’s store in Chicago that has been open for approximately 30 years.

“We were just blown away,” said Tucker. “We had done zero marketing, that first day all we did was turn on the open sign and there were already people waiting to come in for a slice.”

With one year in business now under her belt, Tucker said business is steady and delivery times more accurate. “Our delivery times are under an hour, even on busy Friday nights,” she remarked.

One customer who places a pick-up order every Friday night is Bloomingdale resident Kristen Kaim. She and her husband moved from Chicago three years ago and were surprised to discover authentic Chicago-style pizza in Valrico.

Although they don’t agree on crust style (she prefers deep-dish while her husband likes thin crust), Rosati’s Pizza offers both styles of crust.

“It tastes a bit like home and it’s nice to have that reminder,” said Kaim. “I’m also a fan of supporting local businesses.”

Located at 3347 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in the Publix-anchored Shoppes of Lithia shopping center, Rosati’s Pizza is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

In addition to a variety of pizza sizes and flavors, it’s menu, available for carry-out or delivery, features a selection of appetizers, wings, salads, pastas, sandwiches and desserts. Online ordering is available on its website.

Tucker is happy she is on the other side of the learning curve and appreciates each and every family that orders from the store. When customers say they hadn’t eaten good pizza until they ate at Rosati’s, she feels a sense of pride and accomplishment.

“We have put our hearts and souls into this restaurant and continue to strive for excellence and satisfaction,” she said.

For more information about Rosati’s, visit www.rosatispizza.com or call 643-1003.