Ramuntos offers homemade pizzas (5/28/09)

New restaurant to open next week

May 28, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The smell of freshly baked pizza filled the air of Ramunto’s Brick Oven Pizza earlier this week. Co-owner Jeff Paul pulled a hot cheese pizza from one of the restaurant’s many ovens and cut the large pie into tiny slices. Even though the restaurant is not scheduled to open until Monday, Paul was busy getting the word out about Williston’s newest pizzeria.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Ray Bostock, manager of the new Ramunto’s Brick Oven Pizza in Taft Corners Shopping Center, flings pizza dough into the air during the restaurant’s pre-opening. Ramunto’s is scheduled to open Monday.

The cheese pizza Paul boxed up was a free sample for a local office. Handing the pizza over to the “future customer,” Paul shouted, “Tell your friends about us.”

Located in the Taft Corners Shopping Center where Today’s Gourmet used to be, the new restaurant is part of a blossoming Ramunto’s franchise. Founded by Cliff Ramunto in Rutland, the chain has expanded to a handful of locations in New Hampshire and Vermont. The Williston location will be the franchise’s first in Chittenden County, according to Paul.

Paul, who co-owns Williston’s Ramunto’s with longtime friend Kiet Nguyen, said it’s been a dream of theirs to start a business. Paul, an acquaintance of Cliff Ramunto, said opening the franchise was the realization of that dream.

Before owning the franchise, Paul was a director of membership sales at the YMCA in Burlington and Nguyen worked as a bookkeeper for Williston-based Hettena Wright & Horton CPAs, P.C.

“This was an opportunity to be involved in something that would be completely ours,” Paul said.

Paul said Ramunto’s draw is its homemade pizzas, which use fresh ingredients. All dough and pizza sauces are made on-site and cheese is grated daily, he added.

Ramunto’s is also famous for its Garlic Knots — baked dough twists sprinkled with garlic. The restaurant makes a cinnamon version, as well.

Besides specialty pizzas and calzones, Ramunto’s will also offer salads and submarine sandwiches. Paul said the menu would eventually expand as the restaurant gains footing.

Paul and Nguyen have hired 12 employees to help them bring the restaurant to fruition. They’ve also hired a former assistant manager of a Ramunto’s in New Hampshire, Ray Bostock, to be their new manager.

Once the restaurant opens, Paul said he plans to add delivery service and a liquor license. Ramunto’s currently has seating for 24, along with a big-screen television to give the restaurant a comfortable atmosphere, he said.

Paul believes the location in the shopping center at Taft Corners will be successful and he hopes customers will tell their friends about the food.

“It’s a great product,” Paul said. “And when you taste it, you’ll fall in love with it.”

Ramunto’s is scheduled to open Monday, June 1. It will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. Call 879-1000 for more information.