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Randy Smith, owner of Randy's Pizza, which was recently rated best pizzeria in Durham by readers of a local newspaper, outdoing popular chains -- not too shabby for someone who started out as a delivery guy.

The 37-year-old got into the business not due to some affinity for cheese and tomato sauce, nor due to any Italian roots (he's Irish). He simply started out delivering pizzas while trying to make it as a rock musician, and trained his way up as a hard worker interested in the business.

He has opened five Randy's Pizza shops since 1995, including the branch that recently came to the Northgate Mall. Originally on Broad Street, Smith agreed in March to take over the business he initially sold as a franchise when the mall offered a nice deal on the new space. Inadequate parking, poor visibility, and a broken air conditioner eventually doomed the Broad Street location that opened in 2004.

Though he is from Florida, he advertises New York-style pizza and subs. His training by three brothers born in Italy gives his pies a credibility that most pizza shops south of New Jersey lack.

That includes shredding pounds and pounds of mozzarella, chopping vegetables and working dough into that traditionally thin New York-style crust.

He also serves up famously large slices of pizza.

Smith got his start in Florida working for John Steel. When Steel moved to North Carolina, Smith followed. \"[Steel] told me that if I learned everything I could learn in this business, then I could make a fortune.\"

When Steel needed someone to fill in for him during vacation, one of the Franzese brothers (who hail from Mola di Bari, Italy) came to help out. Tonino, Frank and Giacomo Franzese then offered Smith a job.

Smith worked seven days a week, from opening to closing. He was single at the time and had no other friends in North Carolina. He's been married now for 17 years and has two teenagers.

The Franzeses had a couple of pizzerias in North Carolina and Virginia where Smith learned how to work beach crowds, military bases and college campuses -- key pizza markets. Before long, he knew the particulars of the industry.

In 1992, he came to the Triangle to run a shop for the Franzeses in Chapel Hill. He opened his own business in Durham in 1995 -- the Randy's Pizza on Martin Luther King Boulevard -- and it's been a success ever since.

Smith has used the same pizza recipe for 11 years -- a combination derived from all his training. \"John taught me how to make pizza, the Franzese brothers made me better,\" he said.

Smith likes feeling he's a part of the Triangle community, and he doesn't plan on leaving any time soon. He is opening a shop in Morrisville later this year, and has two restaurants planned for Raleigh in 2007.

  • This is a sample and is not redeemable.

    You are invited to enjoy one Complimentary Small Cheese Pizza with the purchase of any large pizza at regular menu price.

    Dine in or pick up only

    Participating Locations: McCrimmon Shopping Center, Alexander Village Plaza, Lake Boone Plaza, Hope Valley Pointe, Commons at University Place, , Shops at Northgate

    Available in: Greater Raleigh 2019

    GoPlaySave offers are not valid in conjunction with any other discounts, specials, or holidays. One coupon per person, per visit. GoPlaySave offers are not transferable. Greater Raleigh 2019 coupons are valid through November 30, 2019.
  • This is a sample and is not redeemable.

    You are invited to enjoy 50% OFF One Menu Item when a second menu item of equal or greater value is purchased at regular menu price.

    Dine in or Pick up only.

    Participating Locations: McCrimmon Shopping Center, Alexander Village Plaza, Lake Boone Plaza, Hope Valley Pointe, Commons at University Place, , Shops at Northgate

    Available in: Greater Raleigh 2019

    GoPlaySave offers are not valid in conjunction with any other discounts, specials, or holidays. One coupon per person, per visit. GoPlaySave offers are not transferable. Greater Raleigh 2019 coupons are valid through November 30, 2019.

Quick Links

Easy access to our merchants

McCrimmon Shopping Center

4129 Davis Drive
Morrisville, NC 27560
919-468-3737

Alexander Village Plaza

2121 T.W. Alexander Dr.
Morrisville, NC 27703
919-686-4444

Lake Boone Plaza

2458 Wycliff Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27607
919-322-5990

Hope Valley Pointe

4810 Hope Valley Road, Suite 112
Durham, NC 27707
919-403-6850

Commons at University Place

1813 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
Durham, NC 27707
919-490-6850

941 N. Harrison Ave.
Cary, NC 27513
919-377-0742

Shops at Northgate

1720 Guess Rd
Durham, NC 27701
919-286-7272