Edit ModuleShow Tags

While celebrating its 50th anniversary, Villa Italian Kitchen opened 70 new locations last year.

Located on New York’s legendary Broadway, this innovator served cheese slices and coffee to Ed Sullivan in the 1960s.



Plain cheese pie remains a top seller for the pizzeria.

 

Naples, Italy, native Michele Scotto opened Villa Pizzeria (now called Villa Italian Kitchen) in 1964 with a handful of authentic old-world recipes and a commitment to hospitality and quality ingredients. Located next to the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway in New York, the pizzeria innovated off the bat (offering delivery in its inaugural year) and swiftly gained kudos from celebs and civilians alike. “Back then, guests had never tasted anything like Michele’s family’s Neapolitan-style pizza with fresh handmade dough,” says Andrew Steinberg, senior vice president of operations of Villa Enterprises Management (villapizza.com), based in Morristown, New Jersey. “Ed Sullivan used to come in and buy a 15-cent coffee and 25-cent slice of cheese pizza before every show.”

Michele Scotto poses at his pizzeria and on the waterfront in 1964.

 

Villa eventually grew, opening its first airport location in 1994, first international location in Naples in 1996, and first mall location in 1997. Today, three generations of the Scotto family are involved with running the company. Steinberg notes that brothers Biagio Scotto, president, and Anthony Scotto, CEO, are the perfect duo, managing the development of multiple brands in multiple real estate venues, franchising, and growing their family’s successful “under the radar” company for years. “I’m so proud of my sons,” Michele beams. “Biagio used to deliver pizzas and knew how to make money when he was just a boy; Anthony was always the people person. Together, their personalities and strengths fit together to make my once-small pizzeria into a global multibrand hospitality company.”

Villa Pizzeria got its start on Broadway in New York, next to the Ed Sullivan Theater.

 

The company still holds on to Michele’s traditions, handmaking pies with fresh dough, whole-milk mozzarella and homemade sauce; top sellers include the plain cheese pie and its signature Stromboli. While celebrating 50 years in 2014, Villa opened 70 new locations last year (reflecting a 25% growth), bringing its total to 400 locations, but the business carries on as a family affair. “I used to work at my pop’s pizzeria in New York when I was old enough to walk,” recalls Biagio. “Now my own daughter is working with operations, so someday maybe a fourth generation will be involved!” 

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

What's Your Story? Skinny Bitch Pizza, Los Angeles, California

One entrepreneurial woman has found a niche with her delivery-only concept that serves cauliflower crust pizzas in photogenic pink boxes.

Fredi Bello: The Richest Man in the World

Fredi the Pizzaman may be one of the “little guys” of the pizza industry, but his integrity and passion make him a large presence in Michigan.

Do You Have the Fire Within to Go Mobile?

A Fire Within mobile wood-fired oven lets pizzeria owners take their signature taste out into the community.

The Chef’s Corner: Brittany Saxton, Six Hundred Downtown

This five-time world champion shares her recipe for the Mad Hatter.

What’s Your Story? Mert Sunnetcioglu, Mia Mia’s Pizzeria

How this ex-engineer quadrupled sales at his pint-sized pizza shop in just over three years.

How to Achieve a Better Par-Baked Pizza Crust

Use these 5 tips to finetune your par-bake dough formula.

Look Before You Lease: Choosing the Right Site for Your Pizzeria

Veteran operator Michael Androw details 7 key factors to consider when negotiating a lease for your next restaurant space.

Mixers to the Max: Getting the Most out of Your Dough Mixer

Experts help you choose the right model and features to keep your mixer in tip-top shape.

SpeedLine Solutions: How to Save Money on Credit Card Fees and Chargebacks:

Speedline’s Pay@ The Door lets pizzerias accept payment at the customer’s door upon delivery.

Marra Forni: Made in the USA vs. Imported Brick Ovens

Marra Forni founder Francesco Marra explains why buying domestic ovens is a better investment for pizzeria owners.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags