Serving Quality Pizza for Decades
In September of 1958, two Brothers-in-law opened (NAH PO LE OH NE) Pizza house. Known to the locals as Mike & Joe's. Uncle Mike was a classically trained Opera singer from Capri and Uncle Joe was a fisherman from Gloucester, Massachusetts. In need of a prep kid and dishwasher they hired their 14 year old Brother-in-law Sal(my father), and so it began.
Originally operating 7 days a week 4 pm - 4 am the pizza house quickly became a hometown favorite. Friday night's after the SUHI football game Napoleone's was the place to be. After a long hard shift National City's finest turned us into their favorite P.D. hangout. During the "MILES OF BARS" years we were the after hours Stomp, packing them in at 2 am and throwing them out at 4 am.
In 1971 we closed down on Sunday's and opened up for lunch. Dad & Uncle Joe ran the pizza house together for over three decades alternating day and night shifts. A true family business, Sal, Frankie, Joseph and Anthony (Joe's kids) all put their time in Slinging Pizza's though high school and beyond.
We have become a landmark in National city and been immortalized in song (The Ghost of Saturday night after hours at Napoleone's Pizza House) by former employee and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame member Tom Waits.
When I took over we made a few upgrades including a remodel, menu expansion and opening back up Sunday's. I feel lucky to have been able to work with my father for over 30 years. I can remember hiding in his car when I was 6 so he would have to take me to work with him. This place is something special. It's where I've spent my life. It's where I met my wife. Hopefully one day it's where my kids are going to run me out of. Through the years we have witnessed several generations grow up with us and appreciate all the support.
It has been our honor to serve National city and beyond for over half a century. We look forward to the next half as well. On behalf of myself, my staff and all our kin we would like to say thanks for stopping in.
Singer Tom Waits and Napoleone's Pizza
At the age of 14 young Tom Waits got himself a job at Napoleone Pizza House in National City (San Diego/ CA). The place was run by Joe Sardo and Sal Crivello (who still runs the place).
Sal Crivello (2007): " He started when he was in high school, about sixteen years old. He was shy at first, but I think that was just because he was young. He washed dishes, and then became a cook. He was an excellent worker. He made good pizzas.
Still attending school, Waits would keep this job for about 5 years (from ca. 1963 - 1968). These years would prove to be a great inspiration for his later works. such as: Can't wait to get of work, The Ghost of Saturday Night or even Shore leave. It would have been just another pizza parlor, hadn't Waits mentioned it in the subtitle for The Ghost of Saturday Night.
Tom Waits (1974) introducing The Ghosts of Saturday Night: “It’s about National City which is primarily a sailor town, a suburb of San Diego, where the infamous Mile of Cars is on National Avenue and at the north end of National Ave is the Burge Roberts Mortuary and the Golden Barrel, Escalante’s Liquor Store, sandwiched in between a Triumph Motorcycle shop and Burge Robert’s is Napoleone’s Pizza House, it’s been there for a good 25 years and I worked there when I was real young. I’ve worked since I was 15 there and I guess not till I was away from it for a long time I could really sit down and write something construction about it. This is called Ghost of Saturday Night or Looking Out From Napoleone’s.
Tom Waits (1974) “I thought high school was a joke. I went to school at Napoleone’s.
Tom Waits (1975) introducing The Ghosts of Saturday Night: “After I quitted (I was working on a Mobile station) and I was fifteen, eh I started working as a dishwasher and cook at a place called Napoleone’s Pizza House. And eh, worked there for years, for Joe Sardo and Sal Crivello, and eh it was a gas. Ehm well, like every night about eh 4 o’clock in the morning all the white vinyl booted gogo dancers and all the sailors would come over about a quarter o’ four. And eh just about that time Joe would go out in front just to check out the traffic on the street. You know, he would like leave his paper hat and he’d fold his apron and he would go out and stand in front of Napoleone’s’. Across the street from the Golden Barrel and Escalante’s Liquor and Mario’s Pizza. There a Shell station right on the corner, and a Westemer and a Club-29, and a Melody Club, Phil’s Porno and Iwo Jima Eddie’s tattoo parlor. And there’d be a cab out there combing the snake.”