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 the opportunity to cook and bake in the Russo home, and many of the ingredients came from the family garden. Just like the one Grandpa and Nona Russo had back in Avellino, Italy.
These Italian experiences stuck with young Anthony long after 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 squachatta (calzones) became a passion.
Using the family recipe for hand-tossed dough, the sauce made from fresh-crushed California tomatoes, and imported Italian cheese blends, Anthony became the sole owner and chef of his first restaurant Russo’s Pizza in the early 80’s. “It was 800 square feet. I had a pizza oven, a dough mixer, and two tables. That's it. I could only sit eight people.” A few years later, he created Anthony’s Pizzeria, located in Clear Lake, Texas, and soon moved to Houston.
For almost a decade, Anthony refined his menu using classic Italian family recipes and zeroed in on the perfect New York-style pizza. In 1992, Russo’s New York Pizzeria opened in downtown Houston, Texas, and proved to be a success.
In traditional Italian families, some of life’s greatest joys take place around the table. Italians understand the magic created when the joys of conversation and intimacy mingle with the pleasures of beautiful food and drink. At Russo’s, we strive to recreate this phenomenon between family and friends at every meal. It’s not just the food, it’s the experience that keeps customers coming back. They come for warmth, conversation, and a sense of belonging.
Traditions provide a means to honor and maintain bonds with our ancestors. Chef Russo’s family traditions play a role in every aspect of his restaurants—the preparation of each authentic recipe, the warm welcome shown to each customer, and the respect given to every guest & employee. All passed down through generations, never to be forgotten. Handing off these recipes and traditions to the community is what makes Russo’s so unique.
“Because our company holds our family name and family recipes, we’re dedicated to continuing the family tradition. Every day, I’m honored to have this legacy passed on to us.”
Anthony Russo, CEO and Founder, Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen