How it all started

In 1925, Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napolitano was founded by Frank Pepe (the home of the original Frank Special). His sister Rachael Colonna worked at the pizzeria for over 50 years. She lived in the apartment above the pizzeria until she passed away in 1987. Her son Frank Colonna learned the pizza business from Frank Pepe, his uncle.

Frank Colonna joined the Army at 19 and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas. He met his wife Patricia and moved back to New Haven, Connecticut, where they raised 5 boys and perfected his pizza skills. He later moved to San Antonio, Texas to be closer to his wife’s family. Frank and Patricia opened Colonna’s Pizzeria in 1967 which they owned and operated for 21 years. All five sons grew up learning how to make pizzas. The five sons went on separate ventures, 3 of the sons went into the Navy and the other 2 sons went into different career fields, one going into custom house building and the other in the Air Conditioning business. When Frank Colonna retired he moved back to New Haven. The Colonna name is still known amongst the older generations in San Antonio as some of the best pizza.

Although Frank could never stay away from making pizza working at Frank Pepe’s a few times a week. Bobby Colonna moved back to New Haven to continue his education in the Air Conditioning business while going to school and working nights side by side with his father, once again at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria.  After getting his Associates Degree in Air Conditioning he went to work for Trane Air Conditioning for 10 years. Bobby later moved to Louisiana to continue the corporate path for another 11 years with Trane as a Field Service Representative. A few years later he came back to where his heart is today, the pizza making business, with this children helping. Occasionally his dad comes to visit working side by side with his son again. The tradition lives on.


25 Responses to About

  1. Becky Staglik says:

    Ive googled many times over the years thinking maybe just maybe you’ve opened again. The family came into town and had Big Lou’s. People were waiting for 3 hrs. for this pizza. We were a bit smarter than they were and ordered it to go. I’m sorry it was not good at all. My husband and I were just reminiscing about Colonnas Pizza. It has to be the best pizza I have ever eaten. Miss ya Please if the family secret ever opens another location let me know.

  2. Thank you, not many poeple know the Colonna name in Louisiana but they are slowly finding out if any of my brothers open again in San Antonio I will let you Know.

    Thank You
    Bob Colonna

  3. Michael Conrry says:

    Do you guys sell t-shirts and other merchandise? I patronized Colonna’s last year and had the best pizza I’ve had in awhile. Unfortunately, I just moved to Northern Indiana . So, what I’m really asking is, could you ship t-shirts to my residence? I am willing to pay.
    Thank you for your time,


    Michael Conry

  4. We remember Colonna’s pizza as the best pizza we have ever eaten and have tried to follow over the years hoping for Colonna’s to reopen in San Antonio. We have lived in Orange County, California since 1990 and would LOVE to see a Colonna’s open here. We would be willing to drive quite a distance to once again eat the best pizza we know of. We still visit San Antonio on occasion and a Colonna’s would be a welcome sight there. We plan to take a trip to Covington, Louisiana just to eat at Colonna’s because that is much closer than the east coast. Thank you for opening there and we look forward to seeing you at that location in the future. Mike & P.J. Connell

  5. We look forward to seeing you too!!

    Thank You
    Bob Colonna

  6. I have very fond memories of eating your pizza on SW Military when I was a little boy back in the early 1970’s. My two brothers and I would sit in the booth with a Frosty root beer bottle each in our hands while my mom and dad enjoyed sat lovingly across from us and we shared two large pizzas. My father gave us a quarter which would buy 3 songs from the jukebox. My oldest brother always played “Cherokee People”. My older brother always played “Daddy’s Home” and I always played “Benny and the Jets.” It was by accident that I re-discovered the location that re-opened at 410 in Evers (which sadly closed again) and I had my entire family reunite for my birthday there in 2002. Before we left I said, “It’s not a visit to Colonna’s without this” and then played “Benny and the Jets” on a portable CD player I brought with me. My brothers and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes because we instantly remembered our childhood. Our mother had passed away 2 years earlier from cancer and that song and the pizza brought her back to us through the memories created while eating at Colonna’s. I will always cherish those memories and your food. If you ever come back to San Antonio, let me know. now that I’m here I will fight tooth and nail to do what I can to keep it open.

  7. Mario says:

    Just wanted to echo what so many people have already said. I met your dad and three of the boys back when they lived in Pecan Valley. If the pizza recipe is still the same, I will trek to LA to introduce my son to the best pizza that I have had in my life.—Take Care.

  8. Thank you for your comment, it makes me very proud that so many people remember my dads pizzeria i too have very fond memories growing up in the resaurant and I am happy to share that with my kids.
    P.S. The pizza is the same recipe and will be worth the trip.

    Thank you
    Bob Colonna

  9. Michael says:

    Tonite, as I sat waiting for my calzone at the local pizzeria, my 12 yr old son asked me what was the best calzone I’d ever eaten. It was not something I had to think long about, the answer flew out just as he finished his question, “Colonna’s!”. I was born and raised on the south side of San Antonio & in the early 80’s my father and I would devour a large calzone every week. We were devastated when it closed. I have such fond memories of eating calzone w/my dad, I miss them (both) very much. This reminiscing reminded me to do a quick search, and I found this page. I’m happy to leave comments about how your food creates life- long fans! Please, please contact me if y’all open another place. I would drive anywhere for another delicious calzone!

  10. Thank you very much for sharing your memories, we are here in Covington LA when your ready to make that drive. I promise you won’t be disappointed!!

    Bob Colonna

  11. I have fond memories of our Granddaddy wearing an apron and dancing to the jukebox(Janis Joplin) at the restaurant on Military Drive. I think most of us worked for your mom and dad, at least for a little while, at one time or another, to include my mom. my uncle John Welch, Julian and me! I miss the pizza and the family time so much.Life was different then…So glad that you are keeping the tradition alive!

  12. Patsy (Morgan) Owens says:

    OMG Bobby!!!All the memories. There was a headline about the best 33 pizzarias in the U.S. I just KNEW Colonnas would ne one, but sae Frank Pepes where your dad got his start. I grew up on the south side of San Antonio, living next door to your Aunt Lucille and family. Never missed a week (sometimes more) of eating at Colonnas on Military and Commercial. I was so sad when y’all closed but very excited with the re-opening on loop 410, 1/2 block from my office. We had our daughters rehearsal dinner there! We now live on the Texas Coast, but syill yearn for Colonna’s food. If we get anywhere near Covington, we’ll surely stop by. Best of luck and hugs to the entire family!!


  13. I hope you guys get out our way, we would love to see you.


  14. James Cuellar says:

    I went to school with Robert or as I knew him Bobby back in the 70’s at Salado and Pecan Valley in San Antonio. We actually hung out quite a bit and even went swimming at his house and got a few karate lessons from Bobby lol. I remember the great pizza his family made and would sometimes bring to the school for our class. Was very sad when they closed the South side location next to Flipside records. But was happy to find one of his brothers had opened one on the North side of San Antonio but sadly that closed. I am very glad to see that you are carrying on the family tradition of some of the best pizza I have ever had (and I have had pizza all over the place including Europe). I will make it a point to take my kids to your restaurant on my next trip to New Orleans to have some great pizza and see an old friend! I wish you continued success – sincerely, James Cuellar

  15. Arlette Padilla says:

    My older brothers and sisters grew up on the Southside of San Antonio and fondly remember how delicious your pizza IS. Any chance in coming back to SA? My nephew lives there in Covington so hopefully he will check yall out. He remembers too!!

  16. Thank you for spreading the word Mike, Irene and the kids came in today it was very nice to see some customer that remember my fathers restaurant hope to see you some day.

    Bob Colonna

  17. Shawn Ibarra says:

    I was Eddie Vera’s neighbor for 20 years, he was a cook for colognas here in San Antonio. When i moved across the highway from where it used to be i found out it was no longer there and was so disappointed. I thought maybe it had just moved to a new location but could never find it. I’m glad you are keeping the tradition going, although it is in a different state from me, it was the best pizza I’ve ever had, bar none. I wish you could freeze and mail one to me, I would pay for the shipping + extra! Thanks for all the great pizza. If we’re ever in Louisiana we will surely stop by.



  18. mIss ur pizza! says:

    Please come back to San Antonio! There is a huge pizza void here! Big Lou’s is OK, but I remember your pizza and it was Fantastic.

  19. walter Givens says:

    WOW what a story of heart and passion, just reading these post!!! I will be headed your way real soon Bobby..

  20. Rose Ann Hurriega Arteaga says:

    I was just thinking about the Colonnas. we lived in the next block on Valleyfield (The Hurriegas). Really enjoyed your pizza!!
    Just drove down S. W. Military Dr and remember Colonnas restraint on corner of Pleasanton ( I think) and military dr. Best wishes from the Hurriegas.

  21. Patsy says:

    And….it was the corner of Commercial and Military Dr. Still miss it so! Patsy Morgan Owens

    Sent from my iPhone


  22. Charles Arsuaga says:

    I will never forget the delicious pizza crust your father. Frank, made in San Antonio… Commercial and Military Drive. I have longed to taste another of Colonna’s Pizzas. Hope you receive this text and may God Bless You!


  23. Charlie Krajeski says:

    I worked part time for Frank Colonna in San Antonio in 1974 when I was in the Air Force. He recruited me because he liked that I was from Connecticut. Also worked with three of the sons. Dean and David for sure, and also maybe you, Bobby. Last time I saw Frank was about 30 years ago. He was back in New Haven and we went to lunch in Durham. Very nice guy, everyone liked him.

    BTW regarding the comment by Ms. Arteaga it was actually on the NE corner of SW Military and Commercial.

  24. Georgia Garcia says:

    Our family “Donaldson” also has fond memories of Colonnas pizza on military dr. It was the best. My dad actually put the kitchen in for Frank when opened. His name was Ted Donalsdon. So I now live in Parker CO and actually saw a sign Colonnas Pizza since 1977. I’m hoping it’s the same or family has brought the pizza to Colorado? Let me know I’m going to check it out.
    Thanks Georgia Donaldson Garcia

  25. Thank you so much, I am one of Franks son and carrying on the tradition here in Louisiana as far as Colorado to my knowledge there are no relations to us but give them a try and let me know what you think.
    Bob Colonna

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