Start up

Hey all,

Sorry if this is a bit of a very board question, it more of a brainstorming and info gathering on my part.

So I am born and raise in Little Italy of the Bronx , 1st gen Italian and growing up with pizza from the shops and at home was just a normal thing to have. I have such a passion for food in general I am surprised I didn’t become a chef, but my passion for pizza and Italian homemade food like the kind I grew up didn’t hit me hard until I met my wife and I moved to Chicago and imo good Italian food and pizza is scarce! So I started to bring out the old family recipes and started to make pizza at home from scratch, family and friends constantly tossing out the idea "thought about starting a pizza place or catering "

In the past year I really started to hone in my knowledge of pizza when I found Tony G and many other resources like this, so I ask all the owners and experts how did you make that itinal breakthrough and open up shop.



Hi Franco:

You can get lots of good information Here.

For my part I will be happy, when you find a location, to do a floor plan for you at no charge. I will also give you an equipment quote.If you decide to order equipment from us we will then do a plumbing and electrical plan, a ventilation plan and a air balance plan at no charge.

George Mills J& G equipment

Thanks for the Reply George I will def keep you in mind when/if that day comes!

Best of luck Franco and hope all goes well in your venture. Chicago is not an easy town to start up a new restaurant as there are soooo many incredible food options. I disagree on your opinion of Italian and pizza in Chicago being scarce. My wife is Italian and is very picky with her Italian food as you are and we dined at countless Italian places in Chicago when we lived there. Highly recommend Spacca Napoli, if you haven’t been there yet. Chef owner does an incredible job there with a small space.

On behalf of every restaurant owner/operator on here, I do want to warn you to be cautious in this and really think through it all and commit to the long hours, the lack of family time, the inevitable stress, employees calling out at the worst times for you, hiring/firing, unhappy customers, and the list goes on. Also, cooking food at home is entirely different than doing so in a restaurant. Might be a good idea to go out and apply at least for a part time job at a restaurant in town to get an idea of what it’s like. There’s also the health code you’ll need to familiarize yourself with and get certified before starting the restaurant. Any questions though are always welcome and wish you the best :slight_smile:

Bought a bankruptcy with no experience, people were predicting our failure. january 1986, now my son owns and operates it - He is doing great , very proud of him. Avoid the naysayers and go from your heart,

Thanks for the advice guys!

I suggest you keep that view to yourself around Chicago. I grew up there and you will find that Chicagoans are proud of their pizza (and rightly so) considering it to be the best anywhere… Coming to town with a NY style bias is not going to get you any friends.

Good luck though! You will find the TT to be an excellent resource I bet.

hey franco! i’m here in Chicago and I can tell you where I am, the north side, pizza places (taco places and Thai Places) are a dime a dozen! Finding a good one may be a challenge but they are all taking a piece of the pie… In my area alone I can think of 2 pizza places that have a reputation for having a good NY pizza. I make more of a Chicago pub style thin crust. Feel free to dm me if you wanna chat more about the places I know.

Fifty years ago, or so, the south suburb of Chicago (Roseland) was AKA Little Italy, and for good reason, more Italian was spoken than English. My wife came from there (Sicilian) need I say more? Last name was Lasagna…kinda Italian? Absolutely GREAT pizza!!! I remember being at the house when her mother would be trading food dishes with the surrounding neighbors for dinner…what a treat! If you ever saw the television series The Untouchables you got a smattering of the area as it was a rather lively place to be during the 20’s. Area is gone now :frowning: but never forgotten) if anybody is familiar with the area my wife attended Fenger High School there in Roseland which I’m sure is also gone by now too.

If I remember correctly, I believe 3 NY places in your area shut down in the past 12-18 months? Hopefully Franco goes the Italian wood-fired pizza route as opposed to NY style.

No surprise there! Places pop up and close down like nobodies business around here. I thank my lucky stars I have survived 5 years. I’ve got a guy around the corner from me who got national press for being one of the best bbq shacks in the nation and he couldn’t keep his doors open…its a wicked world!


If you can handle that, you can handle anything.

Also, being Italian (Sicilian) American it’s nice to hear about all the others on this forum (or this thread specifically) who are of Italian heritage, or have Italian spouses. I guess it makes sense, I just never really knew! Not that you aren’t cool if you aren’t… just saying.

Hey Piazan! i’m second generation from just out Palermo!

Hi there! I am first generation Italian like you Franco. I was doing some research this morning and ran across this magazine. I too have a passion for Italian food and pizza, I grew up with mom making pizza crust and freezing it for my dad to have on Friday nights - he wouldn’t eat anything else. I have done catering for friends and started doing really well through word of mouth - check out my FB page Carmi’s Sfizio but that was too much work and people didn’t want pay for it. My sister, who has been living in Italy for that last 25 years has just returned to the states and she has found a company in Italy that makes par-baked pizza crust in a brick oven that mirrors what mom used to make and freeze for my dad. My mom (who now lives in Italy) will tell you that this is as good as hers. You top the crust and within 7 minutes in a very hot oven (475 - 500) you have a beautiful pizza that appears and tastes as if it came out of a wood burning oven - no joke. We have taken it around Chicago and have had a ton of interest so we will start importing it. We took it to a very popular Napoletano pizza place in Chicago with a wood burning oven that makes their own crust from scratch. She tested ours in her oven and kicked us out with a smile on her face telling us that we will put her out of business. This is a phenomenal crust!! We are now thinking of opening up our own place. We have found a great little location and we are thinking of opening up a take-and-bake place of our own using this amazing crust. I would love to chat more Franco and toss ideas around with you and anyone that might have any thoughts on this. I feel very confident that we have a great product, we are just nervous opening up something and getting into a business venture we are unfamiliar with. The location is perfect and the place is ready to go for store front. Thank you for any feedback.


LOL no but seriously…read everything here and ask all the questions you have there is more knowledge on this board than anyplace else and most everyone here is an open book. You are gonna make mistakes…learn from them; and learn from ours! I wish you the best of luck and if you are in Chicago come in to my place for coffee and a chat! I love meeting other business owners! that goes for you too @Fra2283

We started 2 years ago, no pizza or business owning experience but purchased recipes I thought were great.
in 2 years we’re #1 in our city of 1million in number of reviews and average review score for Yelp/Google.

It’s been a crazy ride, Would I do it again? Ask me in 2 more years, unknown right now.

To be very general about the startup… If you don’t have restaurant owning/managing experience its very unlikely a landlord will do a buildout for you (providing equipment/décor) so you will need roughly 50K (at a minimum!) to get equipment and furnish an establishment. If you don’t have that money create a business plan, and look to family. You might get lucky and find a vacant property that was recently a pizza place and comes fully furnished. message me for more direct questions…