Tolli's Has Been Bringing A Little Italy to East Haven Since 1954


Tolli's Apizza & Restaurant recently changed owners, but has been an Italian-based staple since 1954 in the center of East Haven at 410 Main Street. It is filled with distinguished cuisine and hardworking employees. The new owner, Klever Macao, came into management 2 years ago with the help of his wife, Nancy Carvajal.

Before Klever came into management, he worked at Tolli's for 20 years in the kitchen. He made pizzas, cut vegetables, and prepped the food. Little by little, he started immersed himself more in the kitchen, actually getting the chance to make and cook the dishes. When his brother left in 2000, Klever became the official head cook at Tolli's. Finally, beginning in 2020 that he was running the place; being a cook, counter person, bookkeeper, and the official owner. Nancy makes deliveries, helps Klever cook, fills in as a cashier when needed, and actually does a little bit of everything. Their main goal for this year is to bring normalcy back to the restaurant since COVID-19 took a heavy toll on them, when they could not have customers dining in the restaurant and deliveries/pick-ups were the only options.

EHHS senior Silvanna Ramon, who has been working at Tolli's for almost 2 years, shares that Tolli's is different from other restaurants in East Haven because of its great customer service and the relationship that they create with their regular customers. In her opinion, Tolli's is still popular because they create a welcoming environment. Silvanna’s favorite part of Tolli's is her coworkers; they lighten the mood and make working much more fun.

EHHS senior Alexa Lizbette Astudillo (Lizz) is a relatively new counter girl at Tolli's, starting just 5 months ago. She shares that Friday and Saturday from 4-7 are Tolli's busiest times, while Monday are the slowest days where there are not too many customers. The dishes that are the most popular would have to be, “any pasta dish, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Florentine, Penne Alla Vodka, any pizza special, and for the bar the margaritas are ordered a lot.” Although Lizz in comparison is still pretty new she has been greeted with open arms and she considers her coworker's family. This year the whole staff is even participating in a Secret Santa helping them grow their bond further and establish a relationship with the new workers.

EHHS senior Jolee Jaramillo who is a regular and goes to Tolli's 3-4 times shares that her favorite dish is Penne Alla Vodka and that if you go to Tolli's you must get the cannolis. She reviews the pasta dish a 10/10 where the sauce is the best part since it's rich and flavorful and never disappoints. Jolee’s favorite part about Tolli's is the coworkers since they are all friendly and respectful every time she goes. She shares that Tolli's is “a lovely place filled with great workers and exquisite food.” She prefers to eat at Tolli's rather than to order in because great food must be accompanied with a great atmosphere which Tolli's doesn't lack.

Senior Iman Malik shares that “the catering and customer service is great there. They have a beautiful layout in the place and combined with the food it's just a good experience.” Iman’s favorite dish from Tolli's would have to be a medium plain cheese pizza since Tolli's uses the perfect dough-to-sauce ratio. Sophomore Alivia Rosado describes it as a comfortable and likable place although she hasn't been there in a while she recalls the workers there are very kind towards their customers. Alivia’s preferred dessert is the Nutella pizza with a Foxon Park soda.

Tolli's is expanding outside of East Haven with their second restaurant in South Carolina which was opened 2 two summers ago, run by Josephine and Anthony Pelusso, original owners of Tolli's in East Haven. Klever shares that he is planning on doing some renovations to the restaurant such as adding windows to separate the bar from the dining room and adding new appliances to the kitchen. In plans, he hopes to implement Ecuadorian appetizers such as ceviche, langostinos, and empanadas, since he is from Ecuador but he won't be removing any of the Italian authenticity since that is where Tolli's started.

Front cover of Tollis menu.
Penne Alla Vodka dish with a Foxon Park soda.
Tollis Bar.