Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now?
What else is a philosophy major supposed to do? The pizza business grew out of a passion for making pizza at home. So, after throwing really big parties, I thought, why do this for free?
Princeton is a great town that loves quality things. I owned Thomas Sweet in Princeton for 25 years so I know a bit about the town. If you do a good job, the town will support you.
What is it that makes your business unique?
We make awesome pizza. And it comes from the heart. It is more than a business to me. It’s a lifestyle.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment so far?
Other than having two great kids, I think opening our beautiful pizzeria in Princeton. I love the way it turned out. I am also the first person in my entire family to graduate from college.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I would have to say my father. I was born in one of the poorest parts of the country. My father would do many things to make a little bit of money. He taught us to be scrappy and self reliant. We collected newspapers and scrap metal to sell at the junk yard (before recycling). We mowed lawns, shoveled endless amounts of snow, had paper routes. Whatever it took.
Are you involved in any charitable / community causes that you are passionate about?
No, I really hate committees and meetings. But we support so many local nonprofits. Dozens and dozens. We rarely turn down a request for support. It’s what local businesses do. Big businesses are too big to help much, so everyone looks to the smaller local people for help.
What menu item would your customers freak out about if it were removed?
Well, if we eliminated pizza, there would be unhappiness, I hope.
What do you like to do on your days off?
A day off in the Restaurant business? Be serious. There aren’t many. When I can piece together 2 days in a row I head to Maine to visit my grandson Arlo and his parents. I love movies, sometimes spend a day in NY.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Princeton?
I can answer this even though I am in the business. There are so many places now. 25 years ago, there weren’t many options. We have come a long way. I really like Mexican Village. Yes, I still like Conte’s and Pizza Star, where I got my pizza fix before I started making it myself. Agricola is fun. Mistral is great. Teresa’s is always good.
Where’s your favorite place to grab a cup of coffee?
Well, is there any coffee place anywhere better than Small World?
Any local places you like to visit that tourists wouldn’t know about?
It’s amazing how many people have no idea about the Grounds for Sculpture.