Sixty years after August "Gus" Iannarino left the insurance business to open a restaurant, his pizzeria still is flying high in Northland.

Terita's Pizza has moved twice since it got its start in 1959 on Mock Road and is celebrating its diamond anniversary this year at its current address, 3905 Cleveland Ave.

"Dad would be proud," said Tom Iannarino, son of the late Gus Iannarino and the only one of four siblings who remained in the business.

"We all worked here growing up," Tom Iannarino said. "I'm the only one who stuck with it."

Terita's Pizza started out with a dining room and delivery service, two things Gus and his wife, Margie, decided to jettison in short order.

"The dining room on Friday night was a hangout," Tom Iannarino said. "The kids would take up all the seating, and the people who wanted to eat could not get a table."

Margie, 87, still lives near the pizza shop. She got tired of cleaning up the bathrooms, her son said.

There was a second move, to the corner of 22nd and Cleveland avenues before the Iannarinos moved the pizza shop to its current spot nearly 50 years ago.

Tom Iannarino, who now lives in the Polaris area, said it's always been a mom-and-pop operation, with homemade pizzas at its base. The dough is made in-house, using a stand mixer that has lasted since the founding of the shop. Sauce is seasoned on premises and the cheese is from the Grande Cheese Company in Wisconsin.

He grinds his own sausage on-site, creating up to 150 pounds a week for the small shop, which is entirely carryout.

"My dad always used the best of everything," he said.

Also on the menu are subs, salads, spaghetti dinners and wings.

Gus Iannarino, who died in August 2005, came up with the name of the shop by taking a few letters from the first names of both of his daughters, Teri and Marita. All of the siblings, including brother Mike, are graduates of St. Francis DeSales High School on Karl Road.

Not much has changed, other than Tom taking over the other half of the space, which he used to rent, in order to give the pizza shop more room.

Teri, now Teri Bradham, recalls answering the phone and taking orders at the pizzeria when she was 12 years old. She said she finds Terita's longevity impressive.

"I'm proud of my dad and my brother, who kept it going," she said. "Everybody's heard of Terita's."

Tom Iannarino remembers some customers coming in as small children.

"Now they're coming in with their babies," he said. "It's just crazy."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary