Metro Pizza co-owner continues youth education in new role

Vegas Voices is a weekly series featuring notable Las Vegans.

Long Island native Sam Facchini, who grew up in a three-generation pizza-making family, went to work with his cousin and future business partner, John Arena, in 1967, when Facchini was 11 and Arena 12. Determined to go to college and not make pizza, both graduated and Facchini worked for three years for Arthur Andersen LLP, one of the Big Five accounting firms. But he wearied of the grind, and when Arena and Arena’s father asked if he was interested in running a pizzeria outside New York, he was.

Facchini’s father found a “fortune-cookie-fortune-sized” ad in an Italian-language newspaper for a pizzeria in Las Vegas, which the cousins had visited the summer before. “The only thing I could understand in the ad was the phone number,” Facchini said, rattling it off. He kept it for six months, at which point he and Arena decided to make the call.

“It turned out to be the perfect thing for us,” Facchini said. “Within weeks we had a deal and packed up our bags to travel across the country to start our new life at the ripe old age of 24.”

They took over Original New York Pizza at Flamingo Avenue and Sandhill Road on June 1, 1980. That has grown into Metro Pizza and Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast, which have seven locations — including the one on Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson, which still carries that original phone number.

And in January, Facchini became chairman of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Review-Journal: When and why did you first get involved with the National Restaurant Association?

Facchini: In 1993, my good friend, Bob Ansara (owner of the longtime Ricardo’s Mexican Restaurant) was on the board of the Nevada Restaurant Association. They asked me to join. In 1998, I was chairman of the board, and in 1999 they named John and me Nevada Restaurateurs of the Year. In 2005, I succeeded Bob on the National Restaurant Association board of directors (as the Nevada representative).

It’s an influential group. I’m a small operator from a small state, but I was able to work alongside the giants of the restaurant industry. I wanted to be involved because it is the voice, the shield and the sword of every restaurant operator and employee in the nation. It has an advocacy arm that is involved with legislation on the national, state and local levels. It also has a strong educational arm and philanthropic arm through the education foundation and has created valuable products for the restaurant industry, which has 14 million people. …

It’s also where ProStart (high school career and technical education program) was created, which now has 140,000 students in 1,800 schools in all 50 states and some of the territories and Department of Defense high schools around the world. And the (Restaurant Ready) program for at-risk youth. The NRA is broad and intense.

In what ways have you mentored youths in Las Vegas?

Years ago, when we still had the one location at Flamingo and Sandhill, John and I created a scholarship program for students at Chapparal High. We did it for a couple of years. And then through the Nevada Restaurant Association, we had a hand in helping launch a hospitality scholarship program. ProStart came along on the national level, and the Nevada Restaurant Association shifted its focus to students enrolled in ProStart. I got to see how committed the teachers are. I also get to see students who have their sights set on a career in an industry that John and I have dedicated our lives to. You get to see the future.

Why are such programs important?

It’s about our investment in the future. They give students who have decided where they want to go a chance to be better prepared. So many get scholarships, and these students have an advantage because they’re getting trained in some of the basics of restaurant management and culinary schools while in high school.

Why is it important to convey to students that restaurants are more than just places to eat?

If done right, it’s a gathering place; we’re the cornerstone of every community in America. Look at a really big map of the U.S., and every dot on that map has at least one place to go and eat. Every community needs places like that, where you go to celebrate successes, where you go when you’re in pain. We provide individuals with that level of comfort where they feel like they are at home. We’re there to not only nourish your body but, if done right, nourish your soul, provide the kind of memories that surround you. When they’re at their best, that’s what they’re recreating, that experience you had at your grandmother’s house.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like