In 1995, Madeline Castellotti had a vision. Where frightened visitors saw adult shops and violence, Madeline saw potential. It was then when she decided Times Square would be home to the world famous John's Pizza. As she walked the Crossroads of the World, she was looking for a location that was as unique as her pizza. After stumbling upon an abandoned church on West 44th Street, where the homeless squatted and spray painted gang signs were apart of the décor, Madeline instantly saw the beauty of this old Gospel Tabernacle Church. During her initial tour of this location, the perfectly intact stained glass ceiling caught her attention. It was made up of 8 parts, all equal in size, just like a pizza pie. It was then that Madeline Castellotti knew this would be home to her dream, the most unique pizzeria in the world.
As a hardworking single mother, Madeline waited until her children were grown to go after her own dreams. Madeline quit her job in Human Resources for a large law firm and put her heart and soul into converting this old church with authentic structure into what she had visualized. After two years of being hands on in this major construction, Madeline's vision came to light. She had not only constructed the most unique pizzeria, but also the largest pizzeria in the United States.
In June of 1997, John's Pizza's opened its doors while Times Square was still recreating its image to be what it has become today. Since John's Pizza's grand opening, Times Square has come along way, from streets filled with violence and prostitution, to the world's most visited location. This unique location has hosted Broadway play openings, award ceremonies, album release parties, and a wedding, just to name a few.
Sadly, Madeline passed away in 2004, and left John's Pizza to her daughter. Lisa Castellotti was determined to finish what her mother started and carry out her vision of creating a pizza empire. In 2008, Lisa opened a John's Pizza of Times Square's newest location across the Hudson River in the business district of Jersey City, NJ. Knowing Madeline's dream, Lisa continued on her mother's journey by opening the newest location on Arthur Avenue in the Little Italy section of the Bronx, within walking distance to the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens in September of 2013. The historic avenue, which has been featured in many movies and documentaries, is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in New York, with John's being a perfect addition.
John's Pizza of Times Square has been voted one of New York's best pizzas because of its unique characteristics. All pizzas are made to order in one of our four coal-fired brick ovens and like a cast iron pan, our ovens season with age, making no two pizzas the same. The 800 degree coal fired ovens have no thermostats to control heat and are operated by our pizza men who have gone through months of extensive training. We pride ourselves on our fresh ingredients and incomparable recipes, making our pizzas second to none.
**Disclaimer: John's of Times Square is not affiliated with or associated with John's of Bleecker Street**