Al Calozzi of Calozzi's Italian Kitchen
Owner of Calozzi's Italian Kitchen at Belltown Billiards
90 Blanchard St, 420-3146
So you're the owner of Calozzi's Italian Kitchen. Before you opened Calozzi's, you ran a cheesesteak cart in Belltown. How does running a stationary restaurant compare to running a mobile one?
A bigger operation means more responsibility. On the street, I only had one product. Then Ted Rodemeyer, the former manager of Belltown Billiards, tried one of my Phillies and recommended me to the owners, Steven and Jennifer Good, who were looking for a cook. Now I have my own kitchen and a full menu. It's kind of like going from the minor leagues to the majors.
Being in Belltown on a Saturday night feels like attending a company Christmas party thrown by a company I don't work for, in a house I can't find my way out of. Have you had any especially memorable experiences working in this environment?
One night, these two girls came by. One of them tripped and fell, and the other didn't notice. I told her, "Hey, your friend fell down!" and she said, "I don't care, I want my cheesesteak!"
The cheese of choice for Philly cheesesteak is generally the kind found in an aerosol can. Do you favor a particular brand of spray cheese?
I keep it traditional—Cheez Whiz. We've also started doing multiple cheeses. You can have mozzarella or provolone and Cheez Whiz.
Which dishes are you most excited to cook now that you've expanded your menu?
Vodka rigatoni, fried meatballs—actually, everything. There's an East Coast sandwich that hasn't been introduced to Seattle yet. I can't say what it is, but I made it for the Italian cooking festival and I sold more of those than Phillies.