Meet the Owner: Russo’s New York Pizzeria – Grand Parkway Marketplace

October 19, 2018

On the cusp of opening his fourth location this fall, Guillermo Medellin couldn’t be more excited to share the news of his newest pizzeria location in the Spring/Tomball area of Houston. Here’s an inside look at the local businessman and what makes this location one you’ll want to check out for your next New York Style Pizza craving!

1. How long have you been with Russo’s New York Pizzeria?

9 years, since 2009.

2. Tell us about your background.

I studied business at the University of Texas at Austin where I received my BBA degree. Before opening Russo’s New York Pizzeria, I had a 15-year career as Managing Director for OE, an auto parts manufacturing company with 400 + employees supplying automotive parts directly to BMW, Volkswagen Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. Since 2008, I have also been a business consultant in addition to running three, going on four, restaurants.  

3. Were you born and raised in your local market? If not, why did you target particular market?

No, I was born and raised in Mexico City. My wife, who is a native Texan, and I decided to move to The Woodlands in 2000 for a better quality of life and to raise a family. We wanted to own a business in the area that we could also use as a platform for getting involved in the community.

4. Why did you decided to open a Russo’s New York Pizzeria versus another brand?

Russo’s in The Woodlands came up for sale by the original owner in 2009. As then regular customers ourselves, we loved the concept and food. It also fit our goal to own a business so we could be more involved in the community. The principle of freshness, use of the best, high quality ingredients, and the practice of making all the menu items from scratch without a heavy overhead beat all other options.

Over the last 9 years we’ve opened additional Russo’s New York Pizzeria locations in Conroe and Spring Marketplace and now the Grand Parkway Marketplace.

5. What excites you about Russo’s New York Pizzeria?

The principle of freshness, use of the best, high quality ingredients, and the practice of making all the menu items to order from scratch. Russo’s serves high-quality food in a casual ambiance. The Grand Parkway Marketplace location will be a little bit different with less seating, but an added convenience of counter service for diners on the go.  

At the heart of our business is the commitment to quality food. Like all Russo’s locations our made-from-scratch kitchen centers on traditional brick ovens used to bake pizza, bread, lasagna and other dishes. Our menu includes authentic Italian appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas and fresh pasta dishes and desserts like house-made Tiramisu! Our food is better, naturally as it contains no additives, no preservatives, and no trans-fat. We use 100% pure mozzarella cheese, and all natural and fresh toppings.

We are also known for our gluten free pizza and pasta options!

Separate from the dine-in and delivery options, we offer a variety Separate from the dine-in and delivery options, we offer a variety of catering options including everything from boxed lunches to full service catering service for public and private events. We have a great team with extensive experience serving a wide range of events from in-house business lunches, weddings & rehearsal dinners, school festivals, graduations, community festivals and public events.

6. What have you previously accomplished as an industry professional?

In this industry with Russo’s, I currently own 4 locations, more than any other franchisee. In 2017, I received the “Franchisee of the Year” award at the International Franchise Association’s gala held during its Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

7. How have you served your community – personally and professionally?

We partner with a variety of organizations in the community and surrounding areas. We sponsor and support local charitable and non-profit organizations, public and private elementary, middle and high schools, and local community events. We also donate food or gift certificates, host fundraisers and spirit days. It’s important to us to give back to the local community that supports our business. We have been a long-standing catering partner with The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival.

8.What excites you about your location?

It’s been amazing to see how the Spring and Tomball communities have grown over the years. Grand Parkway Marketplace is the area’s power center with plenty of well-known brands and shops. You can’t miss our pizzeria located right off Spring Stuebner Road! Swing on by and grab one of our Giant Slices of pizza, a calzone or one of our authentic Italian pasta dishes.

9. What is the overall sentiment of the restaurant in your city?

If you haven’t tried Russo’s, you will love it! We have many regular guests that that appreciate the quality of the food served, in an upscale-casual ambiance, and they love our staff and our community involvement.

10. What is unique about your location in comparison to nearby competitors or other Russo’s locations?

It’s conveniently located at a power center on The Grand Parkway. The footprint is a small with a fast-casual vibe. We have a nice outdoor patio and a fire deck oven.

We also make all our menu items from scratch. Our dough is made fresh in-house each day and hand-tossed for the perfect pie. We make our sauces in house and our signature pasta dishes are all made to order.