Ledo Pizza celebrates its 10th anniversary
Many people in town know the place: a pizza shop at the top of the hill, on the opposite end of the shopping center from the town’s Harris Teeter. Known for its signature square-shaped pizzas, Ledo Pizza just recently celebrated its tenth anniversary on August 17. Entering the restaurant, a visitor is struck by its comfortable atmosphere: tidy, open, and well lit with plenty of comfortable seating. But the true charm of this place comes not just from the excellent food, but the people behind the scenes.
The owner, Tony Edwards, greeted me at the door with a firm businessman’s handshake. He’s got quite the fascinating story of how this place came to be. Edwards has spent almost his whole life working in the restaurant industry, starting as soon as he was old enough. In his early twenties, he left the restaurant world briefly, promising himself that if he returned it would be as a restaurant owner instead of an employee.Eventually, he pooled his resources together and decided to bring the great taste of Ledo Pizza to Warrenton.
As we chatted, he drew my attention to the photos of the youth soccer teams on the walls. Ledo Pizza is very involved with the local sports teams of the area, offering discounts to teams and hosting many of them for post-season parties. Edwards talks about the team with a hint of pride in his voice. He has two boys of his own, both of which play basketball at Highland. Serving the sports teams of the community, he said, “was always a part of the mission. Making that connection with the community, making our name and our reputation as a community restaurant – that was always key to our success, financially and beyond.”
One of his associates, Grace Timmerman, entered midway through our conversation, arriving to help prepare for the work day ahead. Like Edwards, she is very much self-made; a graduate from local high school and community college, she herself rose through the ranks of the company, from server to general manager in Warrenton, and then recently opened her own branch as a partner in Front Royal. She manages both locations to this day. Edwards commended her work ethic during the interview, along with the work ethic of his other employees as well: “It’s great to inspire other young people in the community to work hard and see them build themselves up. I’ve watched a lot of my employees basically grow up here, and it’s wonderful to see.” Timmerman had a similar note about her experience working at Ledo Pizza: “I love knowing that I’m making connections with such wonderful people, and I love being a role model as a businesswoman to younger girls. Working here, it’s never been entirely about the money for me.”
The restaurant owning business isn’t an easy path to go down, they warn – “You have to be perfect 100 percent of the time, because it’s your reputation on the line, and you don’t want to let anyone down.” – but it’s a sort of perfectionism that Edwards and Timmerman both seem to take great pride in. They serve great food, and have a soul behind the business as well.
Ledo Pizza offers their signature pizza as well as wings, pitas, sub sandwiches, calzones and strombolis, salads, and pasta entrees. Open daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays). 504 Fletcher Drive, Warrenton.