Riko’s Pizza opens 10th location, but with its ‘own heartbeat’

May 9, 2024

The 227 State Road building that once housed Busters Sports Bar and Grill has now opened its doors as the 10th location of Riko’s Pizza, a Connecticut-based franchise known for its thin crust, hot oil pizza.

According to Rico Imbrogno, co-founder and CEO of Riko’s Pizza, the pizzeria isn’t a “cookie cutter” franchise. “Riko’s are all the same, but they're all different.”

A new business may have taken over, says William Medina, Dartmouth Riko’s Pizza franchisee, and they did some remodeling, but “we wanted to keep the old Busters in here because a lot of people have memories, especially [of] the bar.”

“We just changed the small details to make it Riko’s,” Medina said.

Imbrogno said that’s the way Riko’s Pizzas are: “I want every place to have its own feel — it’s own heartbeat.”

The restaurant and sports bar celebrated the opening of this location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 7. Inside, a group of friends having dinner shared how they used to come to Busters every Tuesday night for a meal together. Now, they get to carry on that tradition at Riko’s.

Riko’s still has Busters’ 50 foot bar, and also features 22 televisions. The locale can serve up to 235 guests at once. It’s open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

When Imbrogno decided to open up a location in Massachusetts, he knew Medina, who lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, would be the right person to help him run it. He said he and Medina  “hit it off right away,” when he became the landlord for one of Medina’s Connecticut businesses that used to house a Riko’s.

Medina said his wife’s family is from Dartmouth and when they found 227 State Road, it felt like the “perfect” place. He added how he hasn’t seen anything like Riko’s in Dartmouth.

“I think the Northeast needs something like this,” he said, noting how it's similar to a New York style pizza. 

However, he said the most important aspect of the business for him is that it's a family business. 

“This is a family business — a family oriented business — with great food and a healthy environment. That's all it is,” Medina said. “You know you can come with your kids and nothing is going to happen.”

He emphasized, “Anybody can come here.”

The restaurant serves its classic thin crust, hot oil pizza in addition to baked wings, which Medina notes “aren’t greasy or dry,” but rather “nice and juicy — all the flavors are there.”

With Dartmouth being his 10th opening, Imbrogno said he feels “really proud” of his franchise’s success.

He added how he was often told to stick with one pizzeria, but said “that was never in my heart.”

“Someday we’ll be a national brand,” Imbrogno said with a smile.

The response of Dartmouth residents has assured Imbrogno that he made the right decision in choosing Dartmouth as the location for his next restaurant, he said. "The people of Dartmouth have embraced us.”

“It's gonna be an unbelievable ride in Dartmouth,” Imbrogno said.