Anthony Russo, a first generation Italian who moved from New York to Texas in the 1970s, was dead set on bringing an authentic New York-style pie to his new home state. And starting in the early 1990s, that's exactly what he did. Today, Russo's New York Pizzeria counts over 20 locations in greater Houstonia as well as restaurants everywhere from Hawaii to Florida—and now, even Dubai. But that's not the only major expansion in Russo's history; there's also its famously expanded 28-inch pizza, which is proof positive that everything, even New York-style pizza, is bigger in Texas.
Russo's New York Pizzeria
604 Polk St.
The 28-inch pie can be made up of as many as four varieties of Russo's most popular pizzas—the margherita, the Chicken Rustica, the Works and the pepperoni with sausage—or it can be enjoyed as simply a plain cheese pizza, albeit an enormous one. But no matter how you slice it, this beast is a challenge for anyone to take on alone. (Indeed, the pizza joint used to offer $200 to anyone who could take the pizza down in an hour, alone. Needless to say, Russo's didn't pay out that $200 very often.) According to Steve Hubbard, director of operations at the Russo's location downtown, the pie can easily serve five to six people, though in my experience it can feed at least a few more, and easily.
On my visit, the pizza was cut into New York-style slices, each one more than filling. But being a popular dish on the menu, especially at the downtown location on Polk St. where nearby office buildings often purchase the pizzas to feed large groups, Russo's recommends cutting the pizza in smaller square slices for parties and events. Starting at only $39.95 for a plain cheese, this 28-inch pizza can be quite the bargain when it comes to thinking of how to cater a small event, or feed a small army for that matter (kids at home in the summer anyone?).