Dan Dispenza - Rosario's Pizza

Dan: I was in computers for 18 1/2 years and I think I had enough. This is a family business… It’s my father-in-law’s. This neighborhood is very tight, and they know Sal’s father that worked here… If [Sal] has a relationship, it’s forever… We don’t use commercial butchers. We go to a butcher that we use for ourselves. I eat the meat from this guy; he makes it special for us.… For some of our pizzas,… we use fresh mozzarella. We could always buy it; we make it in the back. So we do all the work. I mean we really take care of what we’re doing. Make a lot of love.… We’re very friendly. We come in, people talk to us, come in any time you want, and we care. You’re not happy, that makes me unhappy.

[Compared to my corporate job,] I think this is great, this is to me simple. Before, I had million dollar accounts… you don’t get that immediate gratification helping them. Here, I can make someone smile.… With the kids, because I have children, I understand when a parent comes in with a child “Should I cut the slice, which way would you like it?” Because my kids were the pickiest, I had to cut it in diamonds, you know make 4 little pizzas out of it. Things like that, it makes a difference in the neighborhood. It makes us much different than Ray’s and a commercial or a store that has 15 stores.

My wife is from Italy. I’m Lithuanian. But food is food…. I like food, making pastas, I’m always in the kitchen. Again, a small story, I was maybe about 17 years old, hanging out with my friend’s father, and of course his father’s making sauce, so I’m helping him make sauce, sazole, sazich, [Italian words] so it’s like inborn in me, and I enjoyed it… we did it together, and he showed me how.
I see working here as a base, and then maybe expanding and getting my own store or expanding this store to more of a pizza restaurant because it does call for it. There’s a call for that upscale whatever, but there’s also a call for this I can take my family here, not be broke, tasting good food. When you leave here, because we’re very reasonable with our prices, if you go to McDonalds you’re paying the same, but at least you know we’re quality and you’re dealing with the people.… And the question did I make a difference here, yeah I think I made a difference. The smile on one of these guys. I know this guy’s life… it’s a personal thing.

Maybe it’s in my blood. My uncle and my grandfather owned a fresh fruit business, started from a truck, from way, way, way back, and then he had a store and stuff. So I know how to pick fruit, vegetables. That’s why I look, why I do the inventory. I go down, I look at and tell you “rotate everything, throw out the bad stuff” that’s why it’s different here. We won’t serve anything bad, and if we don’t make you happy, we will make you happy. Someone came in the other day, I’m over talking, “That pie [imitates high elderly voice] just wasn’t good. I’ve been going to you for 20 years and this was just not right.” So Enrico [the main pizza maker] and he said “how exactly do you like it?” “Well, I like it very thin.” He cut off extra dough when we brought it out “and extra crispy” ok, made it crispy and made her very happy, and she left.