PIZZA WITH A SOCIAL CAUSE
You will feel like you are back in a NJ/NYC pizzeria circa 1968 when you enter the Smiling With Hope Pizzeria. It is modeled on the small family pizzerias/Italian cafes Walter grew up with. The pies are prepared as they were 50 years ago and baked in 1960’s gas deck ovens which are still considered the Holy Grail for NY pizza. Walter began his culinary training at home in New Jersey in the 1950’s. His mother and her family were great cooks from Italy and he became fascinated with their dishes as a young child. His passion for NY pizza is going on 60 years and has won over thousands of fans around the world. The pies are hand stretched and baked direct on the oven stones which creates the ideal NY crust and are guaranteed to satisfy the NY pizza connoisseur.
For 22 years Walter created award winning pizzeria/bakery businesses in CA/TX/OH public schools that trained students with disabilities for competitive work. These programs gathered international attention and the mission continues with the Smiling With Hope Pizzeria. The pizzeria employs/trains people with Developmental Disabilities (6 currently). Walter teams with his wife Judy (school counselor) on this project and both hold Masters Degrees in their fields. Future goals include becoming a non-profit corporation, providing safe housing/pension plans/paid vacations for employees, manufacturing Max's T- Biscuits for Dogs, and healthy chocolate chip cookies for public school cafeterias that meet the Federal Public School Wellness Laws. Walter created and sold both with great success at the Smiling with Hope Bakery.
Walter has collaborated with an eclectic group of chefs from around the world including legendary French chef - Laurent Manrique, June McCarthy personal chef for 8 years to Governor Taft of Ohio, – Frank Giaquinto famous NYC pizza maker who has made over 1,000,000 pizzas since 1960, Norma's Pizza - recognized as one of the top 10 pizzerias in the country and winner of the 2016 Caputo Cup in NYC, Bon Appetit who hired his students in the Denison University Cafeterias.
We have been recognized by NBC Nightly News NYC, Good Morning America, Maria Shriver, Hillary Clinton, Yelp's top 100 places to eat in America, Tony Gemignani - 11 Time World Pizza Champion, author of the Pizza Bible, owner of multiple award winning pizzerias, Peter Reinhart - James Beard Award Winner and best-selling author, Tom Lehmann - better known as the Dough Doctor/former American Institute of Baking director/world renowned pizza authority, Adam Kuban - NYC pizza maker, food writer/founder of the pizza website Slice, editor of James Beard–award-winning website Serious Eats, Paulie Gee's owners operators Derrick Tung(Chicago) and Terry Gibbs(Columbus), Scott Wiener, owner of Scott's Pizza Tours, foremost authority on the NYC pizza scene, lecturer, author.
Walter and Judy (his wife of 37 years) invite you to share their food served with love. Expect great food and a warm family atmosphere of days long gone. Turn off your electronic devices, step back in time, and sit down and enjoy conversation and food with your neighbors as food is meant to be experienced.
Walter's other life as the creator of Spontobeat