Before joining the Russo’s New York Pizzeria franchise family, Sam Farouz had spent some time working in pizzerias in the New York and New Jersey areas while attending college. By Cindy Charette

Before joining the Russo’s New York Pizzeria franchise family, Sam Farouz had spent some time working in pizzerias in the New York and New Jersey areas while attending college. After moving to Texas, a friend took him to a New York pizzeria owned by Anthony Russo, CEO and founder of Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen. This is where Farouz had his first taste of Russo’s made-from-scratch pizza, and after just one slice, he was hooked.

Although an engineer by trade, Farouz had been talking about opening a business at the time and thought that, with his restaurant experience, a pizzeria would be a great match. He reached out to Russo to discuss franchise opportunities, which led to the opening of his own custom-designed Russo’s New York Pizzeria. After close to two decades of dedication and through changes, additions and adjustments, Farouz is the current owner of Russo’s New York Pizzeria of Pearland, Texas. Farouz is happy to share his background and experience as a long-term franchisee.

Q: How long have you been a franchisee of Russo’s New York Pizzeria?

A: 18 years.

Q: What was your professional background before joining the franchise?

A: Engineering.

Q: How did you find Russo’s, and what attracted you to the concept?

A: I ate at the Galleria location, and I was hooked, as I used to live in New Jersey and have had great pizza in New York. Russo’s was the closest thing to what I was used to.

Q: Tell me about your restaurant, such as location, size, atmosphere, and the average number of customers you serve.

A: My restaurant is located in Pearland, Texas, at Pearland Town Center. It is 2,900 square feet, 105 seats, and is fast-casual. We serve more than 4,200 customers per month.

Q: What is the most requested dish at your restaurant? 

A: Pepperoni pizza and lasagna.

Q: What has been your biggest success as a franchisee?

A: erving authentic, made-from-scratch Italian food that enables us to serve our community in a way that makes us proud. Working with Russo’s and having direct access to Anthony Russo for guidance and support has been very fruitful.

Q: What part of your day do you enjoy most while running Russo’s?

A: Dinner – especially on Friday and Saturday.

Q: What sets Russo’s New York Pizzeria apart from other similar restaurants?

A: We are always looking for the best ingredients we can source. Our recipes are family recipes that make us proud to serve some of the best Italian food around.

Q: What would you like potential franchisees to know about this brand from a franchisee standpoint? 

A: It is a brand that has evolved over the last 20 years, and you will be working in a system that is led by a franchisor who is very supportive and has your best interest at heart.

Farouz describes Russo’s New York Pizzeria as a brand that prides itself in many areas, especially when it comes to how the food is prepared; everything is made from scratch with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Farouz enjoys the opportunity to serve old-school, authentic Italian meals to his customers – the kind of food you want to feed your family.

The Houston-based franchise is well-known for its New York-style pizza and traditional Italian family recipes. A 650-degree pizza oven allows franchisees to make one-of-a-kind pizzas with original recipes handed down through the generations from Russo’s family. By using only fresh ingredients and following cost-saving systems, franchisees’ average food costs run at a lean 21%. Additionally, Russo’s has limited employees for maximum revenue and lower labor costs.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen has 50 corporate and franchised locations across Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida. The brand’s international locations are in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. For more information, visit

– Cindy Charette