Friday - February 22, 2008 Share Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New Haven, Conn., and bounced back and forth between there and Brooklyn where we had lots of relatives.
What got you into the restaurant business?
My uncle owned a restaurant, and we had cousins in the pizza business in Virginia. Our family always seemed to have a restaurant somewhere. So naturally I worked in restaurants as a kid. By the time I was in my late teens, I didn’t even want to see the inside of a restaurant.
So how did you end up in Hawaii running a pizza business?
I had already moved to Hawaii, and my friend from the Bronx had opened this place (Antonio’s) and decided he wanted to move to Florida, so I bought the business.
I hear pizza isn’t the only thing you’re passionate about.
(laughs) I just retired from professional wrestling. I was the longest reigning North American heavyweight champion in the history of the NWA. I spent a lifetime involved in the wrestling world.
Are you really retired?
Well, there are a lot of people trying to drag me back into it….
Where do you like to eat when you’re not working?
At home. I like to eat chicken, veggies, or maybe throw a great steak on the grill. I eat at Diego’s Mexican restaurant next to our store in Aiea, and I like the Chinese food at Lam’s in Kahala - it’s pretty healthy stuff.
What’s the secret to making great pizza?
There isn’t really a secret. You just have to be consistent and use great ingredients. We use the best stuff. Real mozzarella, for example. Most places have switched to the skimmed cheese as its so much cheaper, but it doesn’t have the quality. Using the best ingredients makes a great pizza.
Who’d you most like to make a pizza for?
Vince McMahon from the WWE.
What’s your advice to anyone getting into the competitive world of food?
Slow and steady wins the race. And do everything the best you can. Bake everything, cut everything, make everything ; don’t take shortcuts on the product, and that will set you apart.
Still work out?
Yup. I was in the gym last night after I closed the store.
Antonio’s New York Pizza
719 Kamehameha Hwy.
4210 Waialae Ave.
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