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July 25, 2011

Pizza Marketplace New York style pizza to Texans may seem like a risky move, but New York native Anthony Russo has risen to the challenge.

The first-generation Italian owns Russo's New York Pizzeria that launched in 1992 in Houston but now has 25 locations throughout Texas, Arkansas and Florida.

Although success didn't come easy, Russo said customers love his pizza because he's stayed true to what his Sicily- and Naples-born parents taught him about the importance of fresh ingredients. He still lives by his dad's saying: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it."

Getting started

The Russo family moved from New York to Texas in 1978 and opened a fine-dining Italian restaurant. Anthony Russo was in the kitchen by age 12 learning how to cook his parents' traditional dishes as well as New York style pizza. At age 17, Russo opened his first restaurant, Anthony's Pizzeria in a 1,500-foot square building in Clear Lake, Texas. He started with sandwiches and pizzas and eventually branched out into lasagna, fettuccini and gnocchi.

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