The rain is heavy when I pull up to Michelangelo's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. The dining room is empty at 11:09 a.m., but the glass display case is full. A pizzaiolo wearing a white T-shirt, white apron, and motivated white socks takes my order for stuffed pizza. After putting my slice into the oven to warm, he introduces himself with a heavy New York accent.
Mike Iannucci started working at his cousin's pizzeria in Long Island, New York, when he was 15 and has been in the pizza business in some capacity ever since, bringing his expertise with him when he moved to Florida 30 years ago. He doesn't own Michelangelo's and says he's content with that. He tells me that, from experience, “When you own a restaurant, it's like a baby. You worry about it constantly. I'm much happier this way.”
While he works, the radio in the open kitchen pumps out classic rock and Mike sings along: “We gotta get out of dis place, if it's the last thing we ever do.” His accent is even thicker when he sings.