Meet Certified Master Pizzaiolo Billy Manzo, Jr.
His journey to the heights of culinary excellence began as a boy in his Aunt Anna’s backyard in Providence, Rhode Island, where he watched his Aunt Philly and Aunt Rosie turn Italian toast with sharp chunk provolone cheese into something magical.
As Billy grew, he continued to learn and master every technique, every pairing, every discipline that good cooking demands. Always boldly open to life and its opportunities, he traveled—and kept learning. A stint in Las Vegas found him employed on the set of Martin Scorsese’s film Casino. He went on to work in the kitchen of one of Nevada’s high-end restaurants, which, for all its sophistication, couldn’t match what Billy had learned at home.
Billy decided to return to Rhode Island, where he opened a cigar lounge, but everyone who knew him was puzzled. “Why aren’t you cooking?” they would ask. “Didn’t you make pizza in Vegas?”
As Billy tells it, “So I bought an oven and set it up in the store. I flipped some tiles upside down to make the terracotta, made pizza dough by hand, and offered it to my customers. On the first night, I sold forty pizzas from my cigar lounge.”
Soon Billy was selling 300 to 400 pizzas per week. His dough balls were being featured in 200 supermarkets. That’s when he decided to open his first pizzeria in Warren, Rhode Island.
But the story doesn’t end there…