By Lynette Carrington
Venezia's Pizzeria is a family-owned and operated series of restaurants that incorporates the finest flavors of Italy and the fun and nostalgia of New York style pizzerias into their business. Frank and Clara Montanile made the move from Italy to New York back in the 1960s. Soon after, they met, fell in love, had kids and the rest, shall we say, is pizza history. The Montanile's wanted a great place for their children, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and opened their first full-service Italian restaurant back in 1978.
Fast forward to 2015, Frank and Clara have retired and son Domenick Montanile has taken over the delicious Venezia's empire with the commitment to food quality, devotion to outstanding authentic flavors and a promise to deliver the best in Montanile Italian family recipes that are incorporated throughout all its stores. The fact that Venezia's was featured on the incredibly popular cable television series "Breaking Bad" is just the extra topping on the proverbial pizza pie. After all, who could forget actor Bryan Cranston as formidable Walter White, chucking the party pizza pie on to the roof of the house? "It was pretty cool," says Domenick Montanile who has literally been working at Venezia's since he was in Kindergarten.
"I always knew I was going to open a pizzeria. My dad comes from Italy and not having schooling he said, ‘I just want you to have an education.' I went to ASU and my senior year everyone was getting jobs at Intel and Honeywell and I raise my hand and said, ‘I'm running a pizzeria,'" laughs Montanile. In 17 years, his hard work has paid off in the form of five successful Venezia's locations, a huge dose of job satisfaction and a legion of loyal customers.
Venezia's boasts a generous menu including pizza, pasta, appetizers, salads, wings, calzones, sandwiches and desserts. The restaurant even sells its famous house made marinara sauce and dressings, pizza starter kits, peppers, and sopressata and dry sausage brought in directly from Brooklyn, New York. Now that's Italian!
Pizza is at the cornerstone of Venezia's menu. Of course, the pizza dough and sauce is made fresh in-house, daily. Pizzas are available by the slice (they're huge!), or full-size pizzas are available in 12", 14", 16" or the famous/infamous 24" party pizza as featured on "Breaking Bad." Just about every pizza topping imaginable is available at Venzia's and some of the specialty pizzas include Hawaiian, Vegetarian Style, Pizza Bianco, The Italian Stallion, Barbecue Chicken, Pesto, Spicy Chicken and many others.
"All of our recipes are from my parents and grandparents," explains Montanile. "I learned everything from them and my main goal is not to screw that up and keep everything consistent at the restaurants. We use San Marzano tomatoes from Italy and I have a connection with a guy in Italy. We've been able to grow as a restaurant and have a large volume which gives us a good price. That's worked out really well."
Some other best sellers on the menu include the baked ziti, the sub and hero sandwiches (especially the Chicken Parmigiano Hero) and all the meats and cheese incorporated in the menu at Venezia's are Boar's Head. "We also do a ton of wings," adds Montanile." Varieties of boneless and bone-in wings include gold medium, barbecue, sweet red chili, honey barbecue, mild, medium and honey mild.
"I like to make sure our quality is great and our reputation is very important to me," finishes Montanile.
2721 S. Ellsworth Rd., #107, Mesa