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Barbero's Pizza in 1958. Photo by Nina Barbero.

Who Remembers…Barbero’s Pizza?

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Here is another installment in our Who Remembers? series. You can browse previous articles by using the search bar on the right. These articles are strolls down memory lane. In some cases, the buildings, but new businesses have replaced them. In other instances, the buildings or even the properties have been razed. Instead of a building, it may be a TV show, personality, or commercial that no one longer exists. Either way, it can’t stop us from taking the Memory Lane stroll!

As always we would rather this be a discussion. No one knows this area better than those who grew up here! Please, leave constructive criticism, feedback, and corrections. We’d love to hear your anecdotes. Please share!

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Memories of 85 Huttleston Avenue
Having grown up a gypsy, I’ve lived in New Bedford (no less than 7 different locations), Fairhaven (4 different addresses), Rochester, and Acushnet. That only covers Massachusetts and not the other states and countries I’ve lived in. The benefit of living in multiple locations is I can wax nostalgic over a variety of places. When I first moved to Fairhaven, I was perhaps 14 years old if memory serves me correctly. What is top of the food pyramid for a 14-year-old? Yeah, you guessed it: pizza.

Bob and Ray Barbero at Margaret’s Variety Store (Nina Barbero)

So it was only natural to seek out who had the best pizza around. Having moved to Fairhaven from New Bedford, that meant going over the bridge and down Route 6. Destiny dictated that as I was staring out the window I saw a sign – I swear there was a golden aura shimmering around the sign – stating Barbero’s Italian Restaurant at 85 Huttleston Avenue.

I kid you not when I say that I am now salivating. I feel like I should race into the kitchen, dig through all the drawers and see if I have enough coupons for a FREE pizza. I bet you somewhere in my attic of packed away things, there’s a Barbero’s coupon. Remember those green cut-outs on each pizza box? 10 coupons gets you a golden ticket.

This was THE spot for Italian food in Fairhaven for the longest time, especially pizza. I vaguely remember the variety of toppings, but remembering there being a lot to choose from. Barbero’s always loaded their pies with generous amounts of toppings. I didn’t like thin pizza anywhere else and don’t like it today. I have NOT ordered and eaten a plain cheese pizza since.

This was my brother Mike’s favorite place to eat whenever he would get a break from military duty. He would fly in from wherever he was living in the world at that time, and within a few hours, the words “Let’s go to Barbero’s!” would be on his lips.

The original restaurant after its conversion in 1951 (Nina Barbero)

I have a vague recollection of the mini-golf course next door and reader Janet Gouveia Rusinsoki who worked there for 3 decades, stated that Barbero’s also owned the golf course, which was placed there in the 1960s. Batting cages were also added in the early 1990s, but were eventually razed to make way for a parking lot.

Barbero’s was such a landmark, that if you needed to give anyone directions, you could say “Go past Barbero’s and take that left.” or “Turn right at the lights after Barbero’s.” Barbero’s was brilliantly located near my house – which led to teenage entrapment while walking home.

Sadly, the Fairhaven Barbero’s closed their doors on March 15, 1998.

Margaret’s Variety; Corner of County and Linden Streets
Our more knowledgeable readers will know that the Fairhaven location wasn’t the only location. There were seven or eight “Barbero’s” depending on how one counts, from New Bedford, Fairhaven and Dartmouth, to Dennisport, Falmouth, Marion – even a sub shop on Union Street (the early 1970s), and a concession stand at Lincoln Park for 8 years at one point.

Barbero’s had humble beginnings with three variety stores throughout New Bedford. The third variety store, “Margaret’s Variety” was named after Joseph Barbero Sr.’s wife Margaret. This variety store opened in 1951 and was on the corner of County and 58 Linden Street, which is Linden House of Pizza & More now.

The Barbero Family – Ray, Joe, Margaret, Joey, & Bob (Nina Barbero)

When I lived on 868 County Street next door to Kinyon Campbell, I went to this spot often, and as long as I can recall it was always a sub and pizza shop, changing names over the years. Margaret’s Variety sold fresh baked bread from Tom Marcucci’s Bakery of Fall River. It was Tom that suggested they sell pizza – which they did for 5 whopping cents a slice. The pizza was so popular and demand so great that Tom suggested they begin to make it themselves. The rest is history!

Margaret’s Variety was converted into a small restaurant and began to sell that famous mouth-watering pizza, soft-serve ice cream, and soda from a fountain. Eventually, Joe and Margaret’s sons Joe, Ray, and Bob ran the business until the early 1960s. This establishment in turn also became so popular that they expanded and opened a second Barbero’s in 1958, which was the one in Fairhaven that I began the article with. The third Barbero’s was opened, coincidentally at the old A&W’s in Dartmouth at 868 State Road.

I need a Barbero’s pizza in my life…STAT!

If you want to peruse a ton of great old photos of Barbero’s there is a “Remembering Barbero’s” Facebook! I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to Nina Barbero for most of the information and all the photos in this article. Without her generosity, this article would have been another boring write-up with a photo of a Barbero’s coupon.

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About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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9 comments

  1. I remember the one at County and Linden but we always called it Barbaro’s. spent a lot of time there in the 50’s.

  2. Suzanne McGuire

    I worked for Bob at Barbero’s on Linden & County. My first job at 16 in 1964. Lived in the neighborhood and my friends & I hung out there whenever we had money for pizza. Great memories.

  3. I have fond memories of Barberos Pizza. my first taste of pizza was from the County and Weld sts.location. loved it ever since.

  4. Hi joe, I love your articles! Just wanted to point out that my ancestors brought the first pizza to NB, and named their restaurant The Palisade Cafe. Please look it up and let me know what you find!

  5. i grew up at the top of linden street, went to Holy Name school there as a kid 1959 and on. Loved Barbero’s Pizza, would always get it there, it was right across the street from the school I actually took my first “date” there. We were 8 and it was the last day of school and we got out at noon and I took her to Barbero’s and we got a small cheese pizza and two drinks and it cost 90 cents. I left the dime as a tip. I thought I was being a big shot.

  6. I moved to Dartmouth in early 90’s and luckily i got to enjoy the Barberos in Dart.Loved playing pool there and playing bumper pool with old man Barbero.Man he was good.The late night pizzas were the best,and the clam boil stew,,,Dammmnnn good.Nothing like a cold beer and warm bowl of clam boil stew in front of the wide screen tv and fireplace in winter.I’m glad i got to enjoy it while it lasted and got to know the good people,, from bikers,to ”some” college kids(the ones who could handle their alcohol)..lol

  7. I can remember my parents going there in the 70s when I was a kid. The fairhaven rt6 restaurant.

  8. Wow. What memories this brings back. I worked at Barberos in Fairhaven starting when I was 14 through high school. Indeed, there was a mini golf course on the property; the order of ‘promotions’ began there: golf course – washing pots and pans- washing dishes – making pizza doughs – ovens or sub shop. I worked the sub ship every Saturday with Randy ‘Mouse’ Sylvia for two or three years until I graduated. Good times and great memories.

  9. I went to NB Voke with Bobby. We would stop to see his mother at the county street store after school and the meatball sandwiches she made us were from Heaven . Ray was a great basketball player then.

    In later years I would be a frequent visitor at the Dartmouth location on my way home to Westport.

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