See below for a few of the highlights of our 2017 show. Special events planned for 2018 will be posted at a later date.
Pizza Menu Superstars
Team Up for Special
Pizza Baking Demonstration
Thursday, March 30
See how two world champion pizza makers assemble and bake classic pies. Tony Gemignani and Graziano Bertuzzo, each of whom has won titles in both the U.S. and Italy, will team up for this special Thursday morning demonstration. Hear them discuss the pizza menus and techniques that make them masters of the craft, and observe their handiwork via overhead mirrors and large-screen monitors. Tony and Graziano will bake classic Italian and pizza alla pala (Roman style) pies on the Demonstration Stage in the Exhibit Hall.
They will be joined after the demo by Mike Rutledge, the director of kitchen systems for Farrelli’s Wood Fire Pizza, for an Ask the Chefs question-and-answer session. These three experts will take any and all questions from the audience during a freewheeling 30-minute session.
Keynotes From Independent Restaurant Leaders
Our keynote speakers in 2017 are independent restaurateur extraordinaire Gabriel Stulman and fast-casual pizzeria innovator Michael Lastoria.
Tuesday, March 28
The first Exhibit Hall day at Pizza Expo 2017 will be launched at 8:15 a.m. with an appearance by New York City restaurant entrepreneur Gabriel Stulman. Still in his mid-30s, he currently owns and operates five “neighborhood” dining establishments in the West Village. He quickly achieved notoriety after opening his first place, Joseph Leonard, in 2009: He was named to the “40 Under 40” list by Crain’s New York Business and as Restaurateur of the Year by Esquire magazine — all by 2012.
A native of Virginia who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003, Gabriel succeeds with welcoming atmospheres and approachable menus. During recent years, he’s added a seafood and oyster bar named Jeffrey’s Grocery, a modern speakeasy called Fedora, the gastropub Bar Sardine and an Italian cafe known as Perla — all in the West Village neighborhood. Gabriel’s most recent deal is an agreement to open in fall 2017 a restaurant in Gramercy Park inside the new Freehand New York hotel.
Hear how Gabriel’s company, named Happy Cooking Hospitality, grew so quickly and how he cultivates a community among staff and guests that elevates the casual dining experience into a memorable event.
Tuesday, March 29
Michael Lastoria, founder of &pizza, changed the way Washingtonians (and Baltimorians, and Virginians, and …) think about their local pizza shop. He opened the first &pizza in D.C.’s H Street Corridor in 2012, rejecting industry pundits and politicians who said the neighborhood was too risky, too insular, too low-market. Lastoria rejected that notion, and all the others about the traditional pizza shop. He opened that store with a brand-first, experience-oriented philosophy, earned the respect of the community, and now, four years later, has opened 20 more in equally off-the-path neighborhoods. That’s not to say he’s made copies. Each store is different; &pizza prides itself on reflecting its local community, both in terms of design and vibe. The company is planning several more units after receiving $25 million of growth capital in November 2016 to fund expansion into other major markets, including New York City.
Lastoria, with a background in marketing and branding, also made it a point of foundational purpose to give back, both to the locality and its employees. That’s why the brand started &charity, a hyper-localized charity arm, and why more than 50 of the company’s approximately 500+ staff got the &pizza logo, its trademark ampersand, tattooed on their body, offered for free to Tribe Members (staff) by the brand. Seems he’s on to something.
Hear his philosophies about brand, the pizza restaurant industry and company-store versus franchise growth during his Wednesday morning keynote.
Workshops to Help You
Start Up a Pizza Business
And Run a Profitable Pizzeria
Sunday – Monday, March 26 – 27
We’ve added to and improved the course selections for the School of Pizzeria Management at Pizza Expo. Come early to Expo and choose from a variety of essential business-improving and profit-building workshops. These in-depth training sessions are designed for pizzeria owners and managers determined to take their businesses to the next level.
Beginning on Sunday, March 26, and concluding Monday, March 27, our School of Pizzeria Management workshops offer instruction and take-home materials from pizza and restaurant industry professionals through the following courses:
- Saving Dollars and Keeping Score With Your Spreadsheets
- NEW Two-Day Restaurant MBA, Parts I and II
- Employee Management, Parts I and II
- NEW Concept Development: From Market Research to a Long-Term Brand Strategy
- NEW Increasing Sales Through Customer Engagement
- So, You Want to Open a Pizzeria
- NEW The Million-Dollar Pizzeria X 3
- Creating a Coordinated Pizzeria Marketing Plan
- NEW Franchising for Independents and Small Chains
The half-day sessions are designed to serve as advanced training for pizzeria owners and managers who wish to strengthen their operations and improve profits. Our carefully assembled staff of instructors are among the most experienced presenters at Pizza Expo. Most of them also currently own and operate pizzeria companies and are willing to share the tools they’ve used to achieve success.
For more details see the School of Pizzeria Management page on this website.
Hear instructor Glenn Cybulski explain his course with Dan Collier, The Million-Dollar Pizzeria X 3:
Scott’s Las Vegas Pizza Tour
Tuesday, March 28
Join Scott Wiener, famous for his New York Pizza Tours, as he takes a group of Expo attendees to three outstanding Las Vegas pizzerias — Pizza Rock, Metro Pizza and 800 Degrees. You’ll sample the food and drink at each location and go into the kitchen with owners Tony Gemignani (Pizza Rock), John Arena (Metro), and Anthony Carron, the founder of 800 Degrees, at his franchise in the SLS Las Vegas. All food and drink is included in the ticket price and each person will receive a “Pocket Pizza Journal.” There will be behind-the-scenes tours of the back of the house at each location, as well as a Q & A with the owners.
Sign up for the tour when you register to attend Pizza Expo 2017. There are limited seats on the bus.
World Pizza Games Finals
Wednesday, March 29
5 – 8:30 p.m.
The ever-popular finals of the Freestyle Acrobatic Dough-Tossing event in the World Pizza Games will headline this year’s Pizza Expo Block Party on Wednesday evening. Come see the finalists who received the highest marks from the judges during the preliminaries on Tuesday, followed by a Masters Division competition featuring past champions. The artistry of the top dough-spinners performing to recorded music under the stage lights is something to behold.
It’s part of our free annual Block Party celebration open to all attendees and exhibitors. The event features food, drink and a DJ, along with games, prizes and a chance to mingle with fellow pizzeria professionals. Join emcee Glenn Cybulski for a fun-filled evening as Pizza Expo throws its annual thank-you party at the industry’s show of shows.