EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new Gaslight Village pizzeria is bringing flavors from Turkey to East Grand Rapids.
Pera Pizzeria celebrated its grand opening Thursday. It took over the space at 2224 Wealthy St., where Rose’s Express was previously.
The family restaurant is run by father-son duo Guney Tosun and Ali Tosun.
“It’s very special. He’s always wanted his own restaurant and it’s awesome to be doing one with him,” Guney Tosuan said. “We’re off to such a great start and it’s wonderful.”
Guney Tosun was born in Istanbul. He moved with his parents when he was 3 years old to New York, where his father learned how to make pizza. His father eventually became the head chef at Zeytin in Ada, a job he held for 20 years.
“He’s pretty famous over there. Everyone in Ada knows him,” Guney Tosun said. “He’s excited for the people to come here.”
A key feature of the pizzeria is its large brick oven, which has been in the building for over 30 years. It was a challenge to get used to working with it, Guney Tosun said, but worth it.
“It’s definitely a character,” he said. “It’s beautiful, we love it. We wouldn’t change it for the world. … Pizza comes out so much more crisp, so much better, so much more flavorful that way.”
On the menu is “Mediterranean cuisine, Kurdish traditional style of food,” including a Kurdish pizza with homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella blend, Armenian sausage and fresh mushrooms. There’s also subs, salads and a Nutella Pizza, which has already been a top seller.
The Gaslight Village spot also sells pizza by the slice, which Guney Tosun said has been popular with the students at East Grand Rapids High School just down the road.
The pizzeria is working to get a license to sell wine. Guney Tosun hopes to have a wine list in about three months that will feature wines from Europe.
“I’m going to try to bring in from Turkey, from Spain, Italy, some unique (wines),” he said.
He said he hopes his restaurant will diversify the area and “put a little more spark to it.”
“East Grand Rapids community has been super supportive, we’ve been very blessed,” Guney Tosuan said.
Pera Pizzeria is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for dine in, pickup and delivery.