From Chattanooga, Tennessee to Canastota, New York, the PMQ crew visits with top pizza trendsetters and moneymakers.

PMQ’s Pizzamobile visits pizzerias in New York, Ohio and Tennessee, with a trip to NAPICS planned for February.




 

At 94 years old, famed boxing manager Tony Graziano still shows up to work every day at his pizza shop in Canastota, New York.

Canastota, New York—Graziano’s

Each year, hordes of fans descend upon the tiny town of Canastota, New York, for the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. PMQ’s Tracy Morin joined the throngs at local-favorite hangout Graziano’s (grazianos-cny.com), a now-historic Italian restaurant and bar headed by 94-year-old Tony Graziano, the beloved ex-boxing manager who remains at the business every day, meeting and greeting customers. A full menu of his family’s recipes, including their now-iconic pizza, satisfies a slew of dine-in, to-go and curbside pickup customers year-round.

 

Medina, Ohio—Master Pizza 

The Groupon U.S. Pizza Team held its Northeast National Pizza Trials at Master Pizza (masterpizza.com) in late October, and Lenny Rago of Via Pizzeria 1-2-3 (viapizza123.com) took home the top prize. Rago’s Neapolitan-style pie, the Burratina, featured housemade fennel sausage, pepperoni, provolone cheese, burrata cheese and shaved Parmesan, topped with fresh basil and olive oil. Rago’s brother Gino, owner of Panino’s Pizza (paninospizzeria.com) in Chicago, won second place with his Grandma Stuffed Green Pepper and Sausage Pie and also won the Competitor’s Choice Award. The event was sponsored by U.S. Foods, Sysco Foods and Holiday Sausage and co-hosted by Samosky’s Homestyle Pizzeria (samoskyspizza.com).

 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee—Big Daddy’s Pizzeria & Smoky Mountain Brewery

On vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains, PMQ’s Brian Hernandez couldn’t help mixing business with pleasure. He dropped in on Smoky Mountain Brewery (smoky-mtn-brewery.com) for a visit with managers Brandon Kizer and Tammy Perkins, then swung over to Big Daddy’s (bigdaddyspizzeria.net), where he interviewed co-owner Jon Wimmer and assistant manager Dakota McCoig. He also made the rounds at Three Jimmy’s Family Restaurant (threejimmys.com), known for its artisan pizzas, burgers and ribs, and Best Italian (bestitalian.com), specializing in New York-style pies, pasta dinners and garlic rolls.

 

Columbus, Ohio—North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show

Football legend Archie Griffin will deliver the keynote address at this year’s NAPICS event, the country’s largest pizza and ice cream trade show, to be held January 24 to 25. The Columbus native and two-time Heisman Trophy winner will talk about leadership and team motivation in his speech. Meanwhile, top pizza makers will compete for the “Best of the Midwest “ title in the annual Pizza Pizzazz competition. More than 110 pizzaioli battled it out for the $15,000 cash prize in last year’s contest, and past winners have said their pizzerias’ sales have jumped an average of 30% after their victories. In other words, this is a can’t-miss event for people who are serious about making great pizza, and PMQ will be there!

 

Chattanooga, Tennessee—The Groupon U.S. Pizza Team National Pizza Trials

Pizza makers vying for a spot on the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team will bring their best recipes to host venue Mellow Mushroom (mellowmushroom.com) on Broad Street. The National Pizza Trials will take place December 8 to 9 and will feature both a culinary competition and an acrobatics contest spotlighting the most talented dough spinners in the business. Winners in both competitions secure membership in the Groupon U.S. Pizza Team and will qualify for a trip to Italy and a chance to participate with the world’s best pizzaioli and pizzathletes.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

You’ll Laugh. You’ll Cry. You’ll Drool a Little Bit: 10 Hilarious Pizza Memes from Mikey’s Late Night Slice

A liquored-up Mr. Potato Head and a pink-clad Batman—what else could you ask for from a Facebook meme?

Where will the next stage of pizza’s evolution begin? Look to the East.

China is helping to reinvent the world’s most popular food, as members of the U.S. Pizza Team learned at this year’s Chinese Pizza Championship.

Cold comforts: Gear up for warmer weather with 11 proven ways to boost frozen dessert profits

If your pizzeria has a big hole where ice cream and gelato selections could go, here’s how to get started.

Fast-casual’s secret weapon: quick-baking ovens that can fire up a pie in 2 minutes or less

Customization is key for these operators, but it’s their secret weapon in the kitchen that has set the segment ablaze.

The upside of a downturn, part 2: Catering to deal-seekers is not the answer!

Jeff Mease, owner of Pizza X in Bloomington, Indiana, says pizzerias thrive in challenging times by cultivating “real” customers, not “deal” customers.

Italforni USA ovens provide the best finish you can imagine!

Italforni offers the only fan-less conveyor oven that cooks directly on stone for a high-quality brick-oven bake.

Online restaurant reviews: Don’t feed the trolls!

Mikey’s Late Night Slice knows how to deal with haters—“kill them with kindness or logic them to death,” says co-owner Jason Biundo.

Italy’s father of pizza art meets … the Terminator?

Pizzaiolo Marco Fumai painted a pizza portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger—and finally got to meet him in person!

How to hire a pizza maker—and the key traits to look for

Our Think Tank operators offer tips for finding the right person for this key position. (Hint: It’s not always about experience!)

Are you really ready for some football? Here’s 4 tips for selling more pizza during the Super Bowl

4 tips for selling more pizza during Super Bowl 2017
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags