Chef’s Special – Chef / Owner Armando Afzali
4813 Beauregard Street
When did you first become interested in cooking and why did you decide to pursue a culinary career?
My father, Joe Afzali, owned Napoli Pizza in Flushing, Queens and as a young boy of 14, I worked with my father everyday after school from 2:45 p.m. till 12 midnight. Dad came to the USA in 1966 to New York and the only job he could find was working at a pizza shop. He worked hard, saved his money and returned to move the rest of the family to the USA in 1980. I visited Alexandria in 2003 and it seemed that it was lacking a real NY style store. So, I purchased the doughnut shop and turned it into a pizza shop in 11 months. My son Omar will be opening a new store in Sterling, VA in May.
Who have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
My Father, who taught me how to work hard.
Dish on the menu your curious to see how it’s received?
Valentino’s Special – Regular Cheese Pizza. It is the 1# seller and, of course the Garlic Knots.
What do you do to ensure the quality of the food going out to customers?
After experimenting with the local water, which didn’t taste right for the dough, we use spring water and local fresh quality ingredients for our NY style pizza’s. We also own Johnny’s New York Style Pizza in Springfield, and New York, NY Pizzera in Manassas
If any chef in the world could prepare you a meal, who would it, be?
My father, who makes his own meatballs.
What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Pizza, I eat it everyday.
Written by: Chester Simpson
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