The most important thing I have to say about Village Pizza is that it was love at first bite.

For years, ever since I was a little kid, Village has been my go-to as a Westport native and every once in awhile, if I'm in the area, I'll swing through for a small pizza or one of their tasty grinders.

Located at 760 Main Road in Westport, the small mom-and-pop pizza joint is just next door to Lees Market.

Owners Tony and Kathy Ferreira, after 35 years behind the pizza oven, have decided to continue onto their next chapter in life, and they have recently gone public with their retirement. The Facebook post reads:

"It is with bittersweet emotions that we announce our retirement. It was not an easy decision, however, we do realize we can not do it forever. Village Pizza has been our home away from home, filled with lots of happy memories that we forever hold dear to our heart. Our children grew up here. We have often asked ourselves how did we get so lucky, to be a part of such a wonderful community? There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude and love we have for this very special town. It is truly a gem made up of the most special people we have ever met. We truly were blessed to have spent most of our years serving you the best quality food and service that you all deserved. The memories of each and every one of you will be forever embedded in our hearts.

Thank you to the Police Department, Fire Department, Town Hall, School Department, Highway Department, and all our town businesses, you really make the town special.
Thank you to all the parents who have entrusted us with their children to be their first place of employment. We have made it our responsibility to always provide them with the best family working environment and guidance that we knew how... and you have raised great kids. So many of which are still in our lives today...lucky us.
We will now move on to being students to the four cutest teachers you have ever seen. We must brush up on our dinosaur's names and their food choices, learn the planets and their locations, paint little finger and toenails and get lots of hugs and kisses.
We are leaving you in very good hands. Our legacy will continue with the dedication and hard work that Neil and Janine are so devoted to. They are determined to keep everything the same, just as you are used to. Their work ethic is well matched to ours. We are very happy with the new owners and feel very comfortable that the transition will be a good one for all of you.
Again thank you for so many years of your friendship, loyalty and patronage throughout our career. For that, we are forever grateful. Everyone please stay well and continue to pray for a better world. Love Tony, and Kathy and Family"

Multiple reasons went into the retirement decision, one of them relating to Tony's current health condition.

"I had a heart attack last year and some health issues," Tony told Fun 107. "I'm 62 and I'd like to see more of my grandkids and my family since I'm here practically every day. Family is very important."

Having to wear a mask during an epidemic was difficult for Tony, especially working in hot conditions; it made it very difficult for him to breathe and he kept getting dizzy and was not himself. He is now ready to put his own personal health first.

"It's bittersweet but it's time," Tony said. "I met someone who owned a restaurant once who told me, 'you'll know when it's time' when it comes to retirement – and he was right, and I'm ready."

Over the years, the Ferreiras have been blessed with loyal customers who they've watched grow up.

"What I'll miss the most is making good friends with my customers," Tony said. "They're not just customers to us, they become family. I've got kids that worked for me, that I introduced them as couples and now they're married with their own kids."

You would have to think that if someone owns a pizza shop, there's a special place in their heart for pizza, and it's true. For Tony, as delicious as his menu is, one pizza stands out among the rest.

"My personal favorite is the meatlover's," Tony said. "It's topped with hamburger, sausage, pepperoni and linguica."

I've had it myself, and I couldn't agree more.

New beginnings bring new owners and the Ferreiras are very pleased with the couple who will be succeeding them, Neil and Janine Cesario.

"I used to give (Neil's) kids lollipops back in the day, and they said he'd hire me per diem," Tony joked. "But I wanted to find someone who's close to who I am and Neil was the right choice for the job. It helps that he's almost as good looking as I am."

Village Pizza of Westport via Facebook

As far as Tony's plans for retirement, he said he's ready to just lay low, relax and enjoy life.

"I am going to miss my customers dearly and I appreciate all the patronage they have given to me over the years," Tony said. "They are more than customers to me, trust me on that."

Well, Tony and Kathy, as a customer who's been going to your place for years, I couldn't agree more. I'd like to personally thank you for the good times, the overwhelming kindness, and of course, the delicious piping-hot pizza and subs. Westport is not that big of a place, so I'm sure we'll bump into each other someday, but for now, take advantage of your retirement.

What you've created was more than just a staple pizza place in the small town of Westport; you've brought the community together with the power of pizza and a job well done.

Anyone that would like to send Tony and Kathy a message, you can record a special greeting on our Fun 107 app and we'll play your messages on the air for them.

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