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Posted on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 3:07 p.m.

Silvio's Organic Pizza expansion raises profile of Ann Arbor restaurant

By Janet Miller


Catia and Silvio Medoro get ready to open the expanded version of Silvio's Organic Pizza in Ann Arbor.

Janet Miller | For

Silvio's Organic Pizza is going upscale this week.

Since it opened in 2005, Silvio’s has been known for its organic pizza and pasta and authentic homemade Italian cuisine. But it hasn’t been known for its ambiance.

Wedged into a small space behind on North University Avenue in Ann Arbor, across from the northern edge of the University of Michigan's Diag, Silvio’s was a place to grab a quick bite or carry out but not as a place to linger.


The Silvio's Organic Pizza expansion allows room for more seating.

That's changing as the family-run Silvio’s expands into the adjacent space once occupied by Beanie June’s women’s clothing boutique, with seating for 75, tile imported from Italy, a restroom of its own and a décor meant for leisurely dining.

The new space welcomed customers on Monday, after the restaurant passed city inspections. Some final work on the space remains to be done, but owner Silvio Medoro has expanded and upgraded the kitchen, tweaked the menu, added weekly or monthly specials, applied for a beer and wine license and even added a romantic table for two tucked into a private corner with mood lighting.

Done in bright greens and reds, the décor, said Medoro, “is modern Italian.”

Medoro, who along with his wife, Catia, and adult children run the restaurant, said he hopes the expansion and improvements will bring a 40 to 50 percent uptick in business. He wants to attract more business lunch traffic, along with customers looking for a nice meal with wine before heading over to a show at Hill, Rackham auditoriums or the Power Center.

“I like a challenge,” Medoro said. “It’s a hard time with the economy, but I think there will be a good return on the investment.”

To finance the $150,000 expansion, Medoro said he took on a partner. He said business has been good since he opened 4 ½ years ago, going from mostly a pizza shop to a restaurant with a full Italian menu such as rapini pasta with garlic oil and Italian sausage and Alfredo pasta with organic ham and mushrooms.

Much of the pasta is homemade and many of the ingredients are organic. Medoro is also willing to accommodate customer requests for dishes off-menu “when I’m not super busy,” he said.

“Business climbed very fast the first three years and the last year has been steady,” he said.

Even with the opening of Panera Bread close by, Silvio’s has been doing well, attracting a mix of students and locals.

Medoro’s niche has been simple but authentic Italian food. He grew up working in his father’s bakery in the Abruzzo region of Italy, east of Rome, known for its healthy, uncomplicated food, Medoro said.

"It’s simple natural food, but not fast food. We use herbs like rosemary, garlic and oregano.”

The expansion includes a hydroponic herb garden using grow lights in the center of the new space.

Medoro also added a number of Sicilian dishes such as arancini, rice (or risotto) balls coated with cornmeal and stuffed with cheese and other flavors. He’s even willing to go outside of Italy for his menu.

“A customer from St. Petersburg one time asked me to make borscht, using his mother’s recipe,” Medoro said.

With the expansion, Medoro will create seasonal menus to reflect what’s available at the market, create new dishes and add specials.

he restaurant will offer two areas for dining: The original area with long birch-topped tables for communal eating, will be for diners who want to grab a slice of pizza or a quick pasta dish at the counter and eat on-site. The new area with booths, a counter and tables, will be for leisurely diners and will have table service with waitstaff. Medoro said he expects to add three employees to his staff.

Silvio’s added a popular line of gluten-free pastas and pizzas. “No one opens a can, there’s no soup stock, everything is from scratch,” said Cathy Banish, one of Silvio’s manager.

Until now, Silvio’s offered seating for about 20, Banish said.

"Half the time, people couldn’t find a seat…. We want it to become a real destination that’s cozy, new and clean. Ann Arbor doesn’t have anything like this.”

For more information on Silvio's Organic Pizza, check out's restaurant guide.

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Corinna Borden

Mon, Feb 8, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

I love their pizza! this is so exciting!


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

I love Silvio's white pizza with mushrooms and fresh's delicious! They don't overload their 'za with tons of gloopy, substandard cheese, and the sauces are tasty. Mmmmmm.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.

well, it doesn't taste like the pizza you get at the standard pizza joint. Then again, my taste buds prefer foods without added sugar or salt. I think it tastes great, some very interesting combinations of ingredients, and it's gluten-free which is a big plus for me.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

We get the pizza here. Wood fired - real ingredients - mainly organic. Crust is crisp, yet chewy. Looove it!!!!!


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Congrats Silvio's! I have wheat and dairy allergies, and I come here for his homemade gluten free pizza crust topped with TONS of veggies (unlike many other pizzas) and vegan cheese. And it's organic! It's too bad I didn't know about Silvio's until after my allergy diagnosis -- I would have been coming here for pizza all along. Silvio's is one of my favorite places in Ann Arbor, and I can't wait to visit the new place!

Myra Klarman

Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

I adore this pizza, and can't wait to try the other items. Congrats on your expansion Sylvia, Catia, and your new partner!


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

yay Silvio's. Can't wait to go back. What delicious offerings.


Tue, Feb 2, 2010 : 12:11 a.m.

Authentic Italian is the key. American pizza which if you grew up around here is nothing like authentic Italian, just like any other ethnic food. The best pizza I ever had was in New Zealand of all places. If you didn't like Silvios pizza try something else on the menu, maybe you just don't like Italian. (maybe you like "americanized" italian.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Everyone is entitled to what they like and don't like. Silvio's pizza is authentic Italian. Papa John's (or similar) is not. I happen to like them both (a lot, actually), but for different reasons. Congrats, Silvio's! I look forward to my next visit.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5:30 p.m.

We've been going to Silvio's for years. Love the flat crust and imaginative cuisine. Can't wait to try the new place.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 5 p.m.

I think there's room for different kinds of pizza. Sometimes I want this, sometimes I want a Chicago-style pie, sometimes I want a greasy Detroit-style square pizza with the sauce on top of the cheese. I welcome having the option, but I don't think it's fair to compare apples to oranges.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

i don't think we're commenting on the "pizzaness" of it....we're commenting that we do not like the taste of it. guess we're not worldy enough to understand this pizza. guess I'll go backj to eatind Dominos as I've been informed by you it's what I consider pizza.

in situ

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

Silvio's pizza takes me back to the streets of Rome. It's truly the most authentic in Ann Arbor. And unique! I once tried an already-made slice with rosemary, very thin potatoes and bleu cheese (something I never would've ordered off the menu); it was simply amazing. They also had dandelion soup last summer! Congratulations on the expansion!


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

Congratulations, Silvio's - great option for gluten-free eating in Ann Arbor. And yes, those of you used to Domino's or Pizza Hut as your standard for "pizza" will be disappointed, as this is TRUE pizza in a style you'd find abroad. Open your minds and your mouths - this is what pizza is really about!


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

I'm all for organic, home made, slow food, you name it, but this pizza doesn't cut it for me. I've tried it twice and didn't much like it either time. Undercooked and not a lot of flavor.

Phil Dokas

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

I caught word that Silvio's had reopened yesterday after overhearing it from Jim Saborio at Comet Coffee so I headed over there for dinner last night. The place doesn't look anything like it used to. I went knowing it was renovated and still didn't understand where I was at first. I put up a picture here. My girlfriend and I just grabbed a few slices they'd already made, their traditional Napolitana and the mushroom/smoked mozzarella/truffle oil pizza and it was as delicious as ever. Silvio was walking around chatting with patrons and seemed really happy about everything. But yeah, I completely agree that if you're going there looking for regular old pizza you're going to be disappointed even though what you're eating is world's better. Everything here is fresh and light and their commitment to organic food and recycling is so admirable. They've been great for years and this is such a huge step up. And a beer license! Be still my heart!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

I've had their pizza a few times and it's been very good, even the stuff that was sitting under the warming lights for a while (sold by the slice). It's very different than the typical American-style pizza, though. The crust is thinner, chewier on the inside and crisper on the outside. Less sauce and cheese is used, and more thought is put into the combinations of toppings rather than just piling on the meat and cheese. You can't really compare it to Papa Romanos/Pizza House/Dominoes/Cottage Inn/etc., as it is an entirely different dish. If you're in the mood for a typical slice of grease-bomb pizza (which I love from time to time), you're going to be disappointed.

Mike D.

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

Both times I tried this place, the pizza tasted like scorched cardboard. I hope the other menu offerings are better realized.

Chrysta Cherrie

Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

Congrats to Silvio's on the expansion! Their pastas are light but flavorful, their desserts heavenly, and their pizzas deliciously unique. Considering the surprising ingredients they already incorporate into their offerings, I'm especially looking forward to the seasonal menus as mentioned in this story.


Mon, Feb 1, 2010 : 3:33 p.m.

I only had the pizzza once and it was not very good at all. I would try them again as that time was during art fair so it could have been that.