BYPPO team recently had an interview with Bills Sinnis, owner of Gainesville’s Award-Winning local restaurant, Scuola Pizza, recommended on Restaurant Guru in 2021.
Bill’s passion for his craft emanates during the interview. His restaurant opened in the midst of the pandemic, which was a difficult time for any local restaurant owner. Focused on making the interiors of his restaurant with a homey and welcoming vibe, he is now very happy to see that people are coming back in to eat now that the restrictions are lifted.
“As a local restaurant owner, you always want to see the people, you want to see the meeting with the families, and you want to hear the place. A little bit of the bustle of a dining room crowd.”
Bill grew up in the state of Tennessee but spent a lot of time in Greece. He and his wife moved to Gainesville with no immediate family. Together with their 6 children, they had to start from scratch.
“Five years in Greece helped me a lot in terms of what I did, and being in Europe really helped open my mind.
I have 6 children and 3 of them are homeschooled so my wife is not at the restaurant. It is a family business in the sense that if my wife didn’t make that sacrifice then, I wouldn't be able to do what I do. She’s a big part of the restaurant’s success.”
Moving to Gainesville was a challenge for Bill. The location is not a destination spot but he managed to turn it around, thanks to the support of the locals.
“The people here in Gainesville have been super supportive. They support local, family-owned places, and they actually look for them and post on social media. Not every city takes it as seriously as this so we’re very grateful in that regard. They’ve gone out of the way to be supportive. I'm just taken aback sometimes, to be honest.”
Scuola Pizza is a Mediterranean-American Pizza place. Greece and Italy don't share the same kitchen but they do share a lot of the same mentality. Growing up selling pizzas, Bill’s food background is more Italian. The Greek food added a personal touch since he knew how to make them by heart from their home. He prides himself on his recipes and knows his roots very well.
Genuine Greek food is very enticing because of its access to the sea. Although the restaurant is more on the Italian side, he wants everyone to experience the Greek part, so they’ve kept it more in spirit.
“You kind of have to be there to get the full effect.”
The Chicken Parmesan on their menu is by far their best seller. It's got the chicken, bologñese, and the way the mozzarella melts when it comes out of the oven.
“It’s a very dynamic dish. People like it because it tastes good and they know they're not going home hungry, and at a reasonable price-- the price does make a difference.”
A fun part of Scuola Pizza’s menu is the Craft Your Own Pizza. From no cheese pizzas to everything on the menu, customers can get crazy on the toppings or none at all. He even thought it’s best to accommodate everyone’s preference—gluten-free, dairy-free, they’ve got it all.
Using freshly made dough, homemade ingredients and flame baked. This isn't your normal SCUOLA Pizza!
Scuola’s success comes from its consistency. They opened 2 locations in 15 months well within the difficult months of 2021.
“We want to make sure that these two locations are doing what they're supposed to do and that's providing good food and good service. We’ve had a lot of offers to expand from different parts of Gainesville. People, real estate agents, and plaza owners reach out to us wanting us to come. They even offered to give us food trucks to be able to be mobile. But for me, it's all about expanding in a timely manner, not rushing things, and spreading yourself too thin because ultimately it is me that deals with everything. We may expand in terms of management and leadership roles and when that comes, I think expansion comes a lot easier. You do in time find the right people and if you find the right people, you have to trust them. You have to train them and then you got to leave them alone and then you grow.”
Get your fix of this amazing local restaurant by checking in on our BYPPO app. You can also order pick up, or delivery directly on the app.