In a sea of pizza, a family of five decided to go with one of the top-rated pizzerias in the U.S. — and it worked out just fine.
“It’s a little more complicated than you think,” said Linda and Steve Gallegos, who are members of the family behind the Asto Family Pizza in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“We really wanted to try to find the best, and this is what we found.”
The family owns four different pizza parlors in the state, but they decided to take a trip to New York City in September to try their hand at the Astor family’s signature pizzas.
“I have never seen so many people,” said the Gallegatos, whose family has been making pies for nearly 40 years.
“You just have to be patient and wait for it.”
The trio of pizza cooks — Linda Gallegato, Stephen Astor and daughter Lala Gallego — and their staff of four, along with their chef, all learned how to make the Astors’ signature pie from the Astoria Italian Restaurant in New York’s Times Square.
“They took us to the restaurant, they gave us the recipe and gave us a few directions,” Linda Galas said.
“Then they started working on it.”
Linda Gallegazos’ family has a history of producing a wide variety of pizza from scratch.
Her father, who also owns a family restaurant, made pizzas from scratch at their father’s restaurant.
“We used to have a whole pizza oven, and now it’s just a flat-screen TV,” Linda said.
The Astor Family Pizza was created when they opened their second restaurant in 1998.
“It was really easy to start, and it was really simple,” Linda explained.
“Just cut the dough into four slices, bake them in a pan for a minute, then sprinkle some butter and pepper on the slices.”
The crusts are then cut into strips and filled with the sauce.
“The sauce gets really good when it comes in contact with the pepper and the bread, and the cheese,” Linda added.
The family has had to add extra ingredients to make it as authentic as possible.
“Our pizza crust has a lot of cheese, and we add some pepper,” Stephen said.
Linda said they had to do a lot to make sure the pizzas were really good.
“I think the first time I tried to make pizza in front of an audience, the customer said, ‘I can’t believe you make this,'” Linda said, adding that the customer then left with her pizza.
“The best part is, I can’t wait to come back and make it again,” Linda continued.
“When I made it last time, they were like, ‘You’re making it too long.'”
Linda and Steve are not the only ones making pizzas at the family’s restaurant, as the family also produces pizza for other restaurants, as well.
“There’s one pizza restaurant in New Orleans that I know of that does pizza from the oven,” Linda noted.
“They’re very busy, but it’s a very nice experience.”