Pizza with pizzazz: Russo’s Italian empire eyes Destin market


Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen offers a wide variety of Italian favorites.

Special to The Log
Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM.

First-generation Italian Anthony Russo grew up in an Italian kitchen — where marinara sauce runs through the veins and Sunday dinner is more than a polite invitation, it's a way of life.

Branching out from their family tree and leaving the familiarity of Italy in 1962, Anthony's parents immigrated to New York to start their new lives in America. Anthony's parents parlayed their passion for cooking into a business, opening restaurants with nothing more than moxie and dozens of family recipes brought over from their homes in Sicily and Naples.

Working in the family business most of his life, Anthony — with his eyes on the pies — has become a successful restaurateur in his own right. And now he is setting his sights on Destin.

The ever-evolving and expanding Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen and Russo's New York Pizzeria already has a strong presence in South Florida and that success is fueling their growth north.

"Because of the market in Destin, we think Russo's Coal Fired Italian Kitchen and Russo's New York Pizzeria would both do well there," according to the franchises public relations representative Jason Gilbreth of All Points Public Relations in Chicago. "Destin is about family — and so is Russo's."

The tradition of fresh, simple, ingredients with a hint of flair and pizzazz is exactly what Anthony had in mind when opening his first pizzeria in the early '90s in Clear Lake, Texas.

With seating for less than 50 diners, the humble location quickly gained a Texas following with its New York style pizza.

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