It Started In the Russo Family Kitchen.
The son of first-generation Italian immigrants, Chef Anthony Russo grew up in a New Jersey home where the kitchen was the center of family life. There was always cooking and baking at home, and many of the ingredients came from the family garden – just as his Grandpa and Nona Russo did back in Avellino, Italy.
These experiences stuck with young Anthony as his family moved to Galveston, Texas in 1978. His father opened Russo’s Italian Restaurant, which quickly became a local favorite. Just like that, Anthony found a second home in the restaurant kitchen. By the age of 12, he was learning family recipes from relatives who flew in from Naples and Sicily each summer. Making pizza and scachatta (a stuffed pizza similar to a calzone) became a passion.
The Entrepreneur Emerges
After earning his Chef’s distinction, Anthony opened his first pizza restaurant at the young age of 18. Shortly after, he opened “Anthony’s Pizzeria” in Clear Lake, Texas. A move to Houston brought “Café Anthony,” then the upscale Italian restaurant “Russo Café Anthony.” In 1992, Russo’s New York Pizzeria opened, and proved a model for success.
Like his father, Chef Anthony created a loyal, almost cult-like following. Nowhere else in Houston could people find authentic New York-style pizza. The family recipe for hand-tossed dough, sauce made from freshly crushed California tomatoes and imported Italian cheese blends harmonized to perfection. Always the pioneer, Chef Anthony was among the first in Houston to use a coal-fired brick oven. The bubbling of the crust, the flavors of a well-used oven, the preparation of pure ingredients — it was unrivaled, as it is today.
Custom-on designed to your taste.
Every Russo’s New York Pizzeria®, Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen® and Chef Russo’s Pizza Kitchen® answers the demand of its community. It becomes what it needs to become, depending on which services are most in demand – counter service, dine-in, delivery, takeout, or catering. Under your guidance and with our support, your business will reflect what your customers are all about, and will take shape around the neighborhood’s demographic. Yet each model and revenue option still give you the chance to offer fresh, quality, homemade authentic food.
What’s our secret? Simple. We use fresh, quality ingredients.
That’s what Russo’s has been all about for more than 35 years. The family recipes, which are more than 100 years old, with their custom blend of spices and proprietary ingredients, will leave your competitors far behind. We make our pizza dough fresh daily. Our pizza sauce is made fresh, too, from our traditional family recipe formulated for Russo’s, with tomatoes grown in California, topped with 100% mozzarella cheese from a Wisconsin dairy farm. Real ingredients, nothing packaged.
Russo’s New York Pizzeria® is designed for the lunch guest on-the-go, featuring fast-paced counter service and sit-down service, where a slice and salad can be delivered in under seven minutes. The menu features our award-winning pizza, with an ample selection of appetizers, salads, and pasta dishes for guests who prefer to dine-in.
Our overall approach is reminiscent of some of the first authentic pizzerias where everything was made from scratch with hand-picked ingredients, in a traditional Italian style.
This franchise has the option of offering full-service experience, depending on the day part or the guests’ needs. For most of our New York Pizzerias®, takeout or delivery services constitute the lion’s share of their business. All New York Pizzerias® serve beer and wine as a complement to a menu mix that averages between 5 percent and 10 percent of total sales.