‘I love making the pizzas,’ says retiring Renton restaurant owner

Fred Martichuski, 70, has been making pizza and fine Italian food for over half a century - and would do it forever if he could.

Though he’s recently retired, Fred Martichuski, 70, still can’t shake his love for the restaurant business.

“If we could just cook food and talk to the guests, I would do it until I’m 100,” he said.

For over 50 years, Martichuski served the South Sound area with some fine Italian dining, primarily at Vince’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on Sunset in Renton.

Born to a Polish-American family in Minnesota, Martichuski moved to Washington state as a young child, where he grew up working in the food industry. In 1971, he found himself working with Vince Mottola Sr. and Ada Mottola, who had founded the first Vince’s Restaurant in Rainier Beach in 1957.

Martichuski became the manager and partnered with Mottola Sr. to open the Vince’s on Sunset in 1974.

Nine years later, Martichuski became a partner with Vince Mottola Jr., 63, who had taken over from his parents.

Since then, the restaurant has won Best of Renton awards, and Vince’s was a 2016 winner for Best of Western Washington.

“We both love the restaurant business,” said Mottola, calling Martichuski a dedicated Rentonite. “Fred has really served this community.”

Throughout their partnership of more than 50 years, Mottola and Martichuski opened Vince’s Burien in 1984, Vince’s Tacoma in 1986, the Lazy Bee Restaurant in 1991, and Pizzeria Pulcinella in 2008. And while Martichuski worked hard to build relationships — along with the perfect pizza — he dedicated his time to his family and the Renton community.

Martichuski was with the Renton Rotary for two years and he was with the Renton Highlands Association in the 1980s. Over the decades, he also sponsored baseball, softball and soccer teams, held fundraisers and donated Italian dinners to many causes throughout King County.

As far as retirement goes, it’s an adjustment.

“It’s taking a while to get used to it,” said Martichuski about retirement. Mottola said that Martichuski still comes around to show the cooks how to properly prepare the food.

In retirement, Martichuski has returned to playing music by reuniting with a friend who also has just retired. Martichuski, who plays drums, last played in a rock band in the 1960s. “I’m playing music again and working out,” he said.

“I love making the pizzas,” said Martichuski. “I could do it all day.”