Since those allegations came to light and spread to an official investigation by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Tramontanas have been reminding their customers that they are a locally owned business, separate from the chain.
The Tramontanas opened the Newburyport Upper Crust in the fall of 2008, after moving to the city they call home more than seven years ago. They said they enjoyed the chain’s pizza when they lived in the Boston area and wanted to bring it to their new city.
To thank their loyal customers for their support, the Tramontanas announced they would be lowering prices on many of their items without cutting back on the quality of their ingredients. The price reductions are one of the benefits of being an independent restaurant, they said. Previously, they had to follow price guidelines made by corporate officials, which led to the business losing many customers when price hikes were made.
For years, the Tramontanas have been purchasing many of their ingredients from local vendors and that tradition will continue. In another twist, the owners will be renaming their specialty pizzas to better match the Greater Newburyport area and to adhere to conditions from their split from the Upper Crust brand.
While the business and the pizzas will have different names, quality will remain top-notch, Mark Tramontana said. The shop will still be using its 5-foot, stone slab ovens to bake its pizzas. The stone ovens, he said, lend to the restaurant’s famous thin crust and bursting-with-flavor toppings.
“It makes for a better pizza,” he said.
As for the name, Anchor Stone Deck Pizza, it was literally right above the couple’s head all along, Mark Tramontana said. The building they have occupied since opening has three brass anchors attached to it. Anchors also symbolize strength and security, not to mention a nod to Newburyport’s nautical background, he said.