There was buzz around Houston when Gold Tooth Tony’s was set to open. The brainchild of renowned pizzaiolo Anthony Calleo, former executive chef and co-owner of Pi Pizza food truck and restaurant, Gold Tooth Tony’s was something of a new direction for Calleo: It promised to serve Detroit-style pies in Houston.
The hype created a hectic first week at Gold Tooth Tony’s. Calleo, who is also the current executive chef and owner of Rudyard’s in Montrose, told CultureMap that he sold more pizza in the first hour than he ever remembered selling in a one-hour period at Pi Pizza.
“I’ve done this before,” Calleo told CultureMap. “I’ve sold a bunch of pizza. We know how to do that. The fact that we’re running out of food, we didn’t really expect. What we thought we’d do in a 14-hour day after a couple months of practice is what we’re doing in a three-and-a-half hour day.”
The new shop had rolled out with limited hours of 4–10 p.m. with aims of moving to lunch service within a few weeks. Calleo told CultureMap that he’s now tabling lunch and even shrinking the menu in order to let his employees get their feet under them. He said he’s taking things like queso and mac and cheese off the menu, at least for now.
Calleo also closed the restaurant for two days after the first week of service. “I’m not going to grind those dudes into dust,” Calleo said. “They deserve a break. They busted their ass for us at a brand new job. They did great, period…I didn’t get into this business to tell people no, but it’s mathematics and physics. If I could argue with those, I wouldn’t be a chef—I’d be a super villain,”
Even though Calleo is trying to slow things down for his staff, he recognizes he has a winner on his hands. CultureMap reports that he’s already eyeing spaces for a second Gold Teeth Tony’s location. The new location—the one that got overrun last week—sits in a former donut shop and is just 1,000 square feet. Perhaps Calleo will look for something a bit bigger this time around, one that can keep up with nearly unprecedented demand.