Chillin’ with Billy Manzo
Chef Billy recently had the opportunity to “Chill” with Steve Green, Editor of PMQ Pizza Magazine. Read about Chef’s thoughts on the “business” of the pizza biz in this article from November 2016.
A former tobacconist and brewer turned dough wholesaler and pizzaiolo, William “Billy” Manzo Jr. knows his way around human taste buds. And the popularity of Federal Hill Pizza in Warren, Rhode Island, reflects his decades of experience studying flavor profiles, artisanal techniques, and the science and art of dough making. I paid a visit to Federal Hill recently, striking another item off the PMQ Bucket List. Manzo gave me full access to the restaurant, shared his stories and strategies, plied me with amazing food, and even gave me a tour of his next shop, located in an old movie theater in Providence. Here are the 10 most interesting things I learned during my visit with Billy:
1 How to score free silverware.
When restaurant staffers toss dirty linens in the laundry bin, silverware often gets thrown into the mix. That gave Manzo an idea. “I went to my linen company and said, ‘So where do you keep all of your silverware?’” he says. “They looked at me like, ‘How did you know that?’ They brought me to a room filled with about 700 pounds of forks, knives and silverware. I took as much as I could carry out to my car. Now, every year, I go back to my linen guy and never have to pay for knives, forks and spoons. Otherwise, he’d just scrap it, so I’m doing him a favor.”
2 Electric ovens save money.
Manzo believes electric ovens are more cost-effective and energy- efficient than gas ovens. “I’ve saved an average of $426 a month by switching from gas to electric,” he says. “Electricity is safer. It’s contained, and it’s a cleaner burn. It’s also easier to clean and saves me several hours of cleaning work on the weekends. That adds up. Everyone should take the time to compare the costs of running gas versus electric.”
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