Far North Dallas pizzeria owner Carlos Pinto is under fire for allegedly making racist comments to two black women, and now Dallas-Fort Worth pizzerias with similar names are being forced to distance themselves from the incident.
A video posted to the Facebook page for Carmine’s Pizzeria in Lewisville condemns the language used by Pinto, whose restaurant on Campbell Road is not affiliated with the Lewisville location even though they share the same name. “We find it to be appalling what happened in that video, I just wanted to make mention that we are in no way connected to that restaurant, we are individually owned and operated in Lewisville,” says an employee who identifies himself as “Chris” in the video. “We are connected to them in name only.”
The owner of the Lewisville restaurant tells Eater that the restaurants were all started by the same person, but have never been affiliated. “The restaurants were opened by one person, the eponymous Carmine, who would buy one at a time, sell and then buy another and repeat,” he says. “To the best of my knowledge, they have never been owned by one single owner. We share the name only. We have similarities in our menus but that is truly where the connections end.”
The Lewisville restaurant has only racked up a few negative reviews on Yelp, but the confusion is much greater for a pizzeria named Carmine’s that’s also located in North Dallas. The Carmine’s Pizza at 5365 Spring Valley Road is independently owned and unaffiliated with Pinto’s restaurant, and a source close to its owners tells Eater that it has received “hateful” phone calls and a number of fake reviews on Yelp from people who have confused it with the other Carmine’s. The confusion has meant that the family has requested police presence at their restaurant when it closes as a safety precaution.
The confusion is multiplied by the fact that each location uses a similar logo. In addition to the three independent pizzerias in Dallas named Carmine’s, there are countless others in cities like New York and Chicago. It’s a relatively common name for pizza shops and Italian restaurants in the United States, and it’s a shame that the name Carmine’s is, at least temporarily, associated with an incident like this.