Anthony Calleo, Owner/Pizza Ninja, Pi Pizza

I have been an entrepreneur since I started my professional career at 19. I am now 32. I have been a social worker, running my own agency for children & I have been a commercial real estate broker, leasing restaurants. My latest adventure in self-employment is as owner and operator of a food truck- Pi Pizza Truck to be exact. I have wanted to own my own pizzeria since I was 18 when I started working in pizza to help put myself through college. My love affair with all things about making & selling pizza continued through college and grad school. It haunted me at night when I would come home from my community center and again later as I showed restaurants to clients and wondered to myself, "Could I make this space work for ME?"

The mobile food truck movement that is growing to a swell in Houston has allowed me to throw my dreams and ideas into the realm of free market commerce to see if I have what it takes to survive. I have found out that I do. My food truck has allowed me to do this in a way a brick and mortar location would not have. Having leased restaurants for years, I am familiar with the costs associated and liabilities incurred therein. It is an unforgiving business, especially in Houston where consumers know good food and expect it. If you don't bring your A-game, you’re gone. Given those odds, it's a daunting venture to look in the face. The food truck business model allows people like myself a shot at their dreams in a way that mitigates the severity of those liabilities.

It is the essence, per se, of small business ownership and is it ever work: 15 hours on a good day, 21 hours on a rough day. It is hot as hell in the summer and, believe it or not, cold as a tomb in the winter. There are left hooks at every turn- you have all the problems of a restaurant coupled with all the issues of an old car rolled into one. Generators go out, batteries die, trucks mysteriously won't start, weatherman says blue skies and a downpour occurs. No day is like any other before it. But I love it. Everyday of it. Even when I'm tired and I want to complain, I stop myself because I'm living a dream I've had since I was 18 and the mobile food truck movement and the consumers who enjoy it have allowed me to do so. For that I am beyond grateful.

I have met many other owner/operators and they share my sentiments on this and have very similar stories to mine. The food truck community here in Houston is so unique. The spirit of camaraderie cannot be explained. I have met some of the most passionate, dedicated, fearless and in many ways, selfless people I have ever met in my professional life. I can honestly say I can think of no other trade like this, with peers like this. "Peers"- I consider myself privileged and humbled to call my fellow food truckers that. We all work hard, so hard and we do it because we are doing what we love. Everyday we are feeding people and experiencing the joy of watching people smile as they eat what we make. Be it pizza, burgers, Asian fusion, gourmet burritos- the list grows everyday- the essence of the situation remains. We do what we love and we are grateful for the opportunity that Houston has given us to do that.

I am a food truck owner and operator. I am one of many and our ranks grow every month. We are dedicated, hard working and passionate. We are the face of small business in the City of Houston. Come meet us... we'd love to feed you.