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This Pizza Pioneer Says He Approaches Pies Like an Athlete Anthony Mangieri, founder of Una Pizza Napoletana and Genio Della Frozen Pizza, breaks down his unorthodox approach to building a business and scaling a CPG brand.

By Shawn P. Walchef Edited by Dan Bova

Key Takeaways

  • Anthony Mangieri built his pizza empire by approaching it with grit, determination, and sacrifices — just like an athlete. He passionately pursues his goals and limits distractions as much as possible.
  • He launched Genio Della after his success with Una Pizza Napoletana, and advises restaurant owners to plan for scale from the beginning.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Anthony Mangieri proves that two brands can be built simultaneously, but still separate.

As the founder of Una Pizza Napoletana — and now Genio Della Pizza — he has redefined success in the pizza world through relentless hard work, authenticity, and strategic growth. Just like an athlete.

Mangieri's journey involves a high level of grit and determination. Having moved his pioneering Napoletana-style Una Pizza and navigating a number of iterations before settling in the single Lower East Side location, Magieri built his pizza empire with the same discipline and sacrifice that an athlete dedicates to their sport.

The famous pizza chef worked to limit distractions as much as possible. "The noise is not always easy to keep out." Mangieri shares with host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media. "For me, I approach it almost like how I guess even an athlete would approach something. If you want to be really good at something, you need to put everything into it. The grind is for real. There's just no way around it."

Related: The Restaurateur Who Created a Safe Space for Celebrities to Eat in Peace in NYC

This mindset has driven him to create a brand that esd ranked the number one pizza in the world by 50 Top Pizza for 2022 and kept Mangieri on the path he designed for his restaurant business.

Rather than chase rapid expansion like many restaurant owners, Mangieri has remained true to his original vision for Una Pizza. He believes in maintaining the quality and uniqueness of his product, rather than diluting it through hasty growth efforts.

The balance, though not easy, ensures that both Una and the artisan frozen pizza company Genio Della retain their distinctiveness and high quality. "I had to make sure I was all in that the pizza was as good as it could be," says Mangieri. "It seemed like a better idea to create this other thing that's like, here's this other product that I make, and it doesn't. Neither one takes away from either one."

Related: How This Couple Transformed a Gas Station Kitchen Into a Legendary BBQ Destination

That other product, Genio Della is a Consumer Packaged Good sold in stores, such as Whole Foods and also through Goldbelly. Launched in 2022, Mangieri spent three years perfecting the scalable product to take up space in freezers around the nation.

As a chef venturing into the CPG space, Mangieri is attempting to disrupt the industry with a product whose quality is similar to the sought after Una Pizza.

Though it has not always been an easy road, Mangieri has been able to build Genio Della to make it as sought after as a seat in the Una Pizza Napoletana location, which only hand-makes a set amount of craft dough daily.

"If you're going to do a CPG, build it out from day one to scale," advises Mangieri. "And hopefully do it in a way that's impactful, meaningful, and touches people when they experience whatever you created."

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Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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