Cugino Forno: The cousins are coming to Clemmons

Seniors+Caroline+Adams+%28left%29+and+Kellen+Gentry+%28right%29+enjoy+their+first+meal+at+the+Cugino+Forno+in+Clemmons.+The+restaurant+was+excited+to+finally+open+last+week.

Jackson Stanley

Seniors Caroline Adams (left) and Kellen Gentry (right) enjoy their first meal at the Cugino Forno in Clemmons. The restaurant was excited to finally open last week.

Meredith Watson, News Writer

When entering Clemmons, one will see that there are a number of fast food restaurants to choose from, but what one doesn’t know is that there is now a sit-down, authentic pizzeria.
Cugino Forno, or the Cousins’ Oven, is a family-owned pizza restaurant that is finally opening a storefront in Clemmons, right beside Abbott’s Frozen Custard. After being delayed by the coronavirus, Cugino Forno has officially opened.
The three cousins, Joseph Ozbey, Yilmaz Guver and Adam Adksoy, moved from Turkey to the United States to learn English about 11 years ago. They hoped their time here would give them a vision for their future. Through their love of travel, Ozbey and Guver fell in love with L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the oldest pizza shop in the world, located in Naples, Italy, that only offers two different pizzas, which is why Cugino Forno’s menu is also limited. They decided that they wanted to start something similar in the U.S., so Ozbey ended up staying in Italy for eight months to learn how to make the perfect pizza. They decided to name their restaurant Cugino Forno, which means Cousins’ Oven in Italian, because of their close family relationship. They now successfully operate two, soon to be three, shops in the Piedmont. They are open seven days a week, serving customers from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Their storefront in Greensboro opened in 2017, and the home of their second restaurant in downtown Winston opened two years later in 2019.
Growing up in Turkey, the cousins would always play soccer together. This influenced their restaurant decor by adding pops of azure, a bright, cyan-blue, a gesture to their favorite soccer team, to their mainly red and white restaurants. The kitchen houses authentic pizza ovens that are special ordered from Italy, made from stone and sand from Mount Vesuvius.
“Napoli is where the pizza was born, and where they made the first pizza in the whole world. The (soccer) team of Napoli has that beautiful color, that blue color, and that is what we have been using for everything. We try to keep that color, and after a while it starts to match with everything you make, and when people see that color, they remember you,” Ozbey said.
As a family, they cherish the time they spend together and the memories that are being made in their restaurants, which is why they are excited to bring Cugino Forno to the families of Clemmons.
“This is a spot for people to get together, friends, family, colleagues, especially since we have a nice outdoor area where people will be able to sit. Our goal is that when you have a friend or family member that comes from out of town or out of state, you want to take them to Cugino Forno,” Ozbey said.
While their menu might seem small, as they only have ten pizzas and three salads to choose from, you are guaranteed a perfect slice. The Pizza de Margherita is their most popular pie, which includes San Marzano tomatoes, cheese from water buffalos, fresh basil, salt and extra-virgin olive oil. Ozbey trained in Italy to perfect the pizzas they serve. The pies are ready in 90 seconds or less thanks to their specialty ovens. Cugino Forno’s ingredients are also imported from Italy, which enhances the flavors and helps the restaurant stand out from other local pizza shops. Authenticity and craftsmanship are important to the cousins in perfecting their product.
“We try to do only certain items so that we can be really good at it. When you do 100 things, you don’t have enough time or energy to do it right, but if you do only a few things, you can perfect it and concentrate on it,” Ozbey said.
While they have a few workers that are training and getting ready to move to the Clemmons location from the Winston location, they are still looking to hire more employees.
“We are looking to hire students, part times, or anybody with a good personality because the rest is very easy with us. We are not really cooking anything in the back. It is just the ovens and the kitchen here, and the rest is that they will be making salads, serving people, and taking orders. We don’t really have cooking or grilling. It is literally that the kitchen is right here, right in front of your eyes.”
Cugino Forno is anticipated to be a great addition to Clemmons for family and friends to enjoy a fresh slice of pizza and make memories, as these cousins have over the years. Students who have questions about employment, or the restaurant in general can email [email protected]