D’Amore’s Pizza: friendly, local, family business

The Maloney family of Thousand Oaks takes their Italian maiden last name of D’Amore, meaning love, to another level, creating food for many families and meshing it with their love for a community in crisis. 

The legacy began when founder Joe D’Amore left his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue dreams in Los Angeles. Once there, he pursued a new goal—bringing good pizza to the West Coast. He knew he needed a field expert, so he brought “Momma Nonna” to Los Angeles with her authentic recipes and ingredients. She helped him to master Italian cuisine, including pizza. Momma Nonna’s 100-year-old recipes helped to launch the first D’Amore’s Pizza restaurant in 1987 in the San Fernando Valley. Joe’s daughter, Lea D’Amore Maloney, opened the Thousand Oaks D’Amore Pizza in 2005. 

The D’Amore family was not only driven to open restaurants, but to serve their community. Joe served over 3,500 first responders during the Malibu fires last year from the Malibu location. Lea further expanded her father’s community support, recently serving over 500 individualized meals to Los Robles Medical Center’s staff, as well as meals for Skid Row’s homeless and local elderly care facilities. Friends, family,  and customers have also joined Lea to donate time, money and meals to The Lighthouse’s women and children in need.

Dee Frighetti, Director of The Lighthouse is grateful for the support she receives from Lea and her team. “They have been providing meals for nearly 68 women and children here. We love their pizza and thank them for helping us in the community.” Frighetti said. 

Like other businesses, the pandemic chipped away at D’Amore’s customer base. The restaurant lost established accounts and catering rapidly dwindled as COVID-19 closed schools, businesses, moved employees to home-based environments, and cancelled events. 

Despite the challenges, Lea could not be more appreciative of her staff. “Our employees have been unbelievable through this whole experience. They have adapted to accommodate so many needs during this time of change and instability. They are putting their lives at risk to come to work, serve our customers, and keep our business going. They are my extended family and I appreciate them so much.”

The D’Amore family is living up to their family name, spreading love through food and helping to make our community a better place. “We are so grateful to still be open and still be here. I realize what a blessing it is. It is such a great feeling to be able to give back to the community where we have built our lives. We are invested here, as we are raising our three children and building our business here for the last 15 years,” added Lea. “We love this community and we love how good food brings people together and makes people happy.” 

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