SMILING WITH HOPE
Reno pizza parlor owners are dedicated to helping people with special needs.
WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTOS BY ASA GILMORE
Growing up in New Jersey, Walter Gloshinski was surrounded by food. His grandfather was a butcher. His grandmother was a baker. And he was 15 minutes away from Manhattan’s endless food culture. Above all else, he was raised to believe pizza was a religion.
Fast forward to today … Gloshinski and his wife Judy have embraced their fondness for the traditional New York-style pie with their new(ish) shop, Smiling with Hope Pizza. This isn’t your typical pizzeria. It’s much more.
“My wife and I are dedicated to helping those with special needs,” he says. “That’s why we’ve created a training center and working environment within the restaurant where we teach folks skills, enabling them to work here.”
Pizza with purpose
“I’ve spent a large majority of my life helping the disabled, and I’ve found that many are just looking for a job to do” Gloshinski says. “They want to feel like they have a purpose and are contributing to the team.”
The Gloshinskis often begin with the basics when working with people who have developmental disabilities, autism, and Down syndrome.
“We start from ground zero because most have no skills,” he says.
During training, these staff members learn everything from how to wash their hands properly to the ins and outs of the kitchen. They take on roles serving customers, making pizzas, and preparing all-natural dog biscuits (another fantastic item available at Smiling with Hope Pizza).
“We basically let them rise to whatever abilities they have, and we don’t hold them back,” he says.
A thoughtful pie
Nearly everything you’ll find on the menu is homemade. The sausage is Gloshinski’s grandfather’s recipe. The dough is kneaded by hand. The staff members even make the rosemary garlic baguettes. All of this is done with the desire to do good — with the food, the customers, and the staff.
“Our pizza is classic New York. It’s all about the thin crust as the focus,” Gloshinski says. “Toppings are meant to balance with the crust, which is the opposite of West Coast pizzas, where you have a lot of toppings on a crust. That isn’t the focus; it just holds all the toppings.”
Smiling with Hope’s pizza has been dubbed “The best New York pizza in the world” by Norma Knepp, Caputo Cup Pizza Competition Champion of Italy, and “The greatest in the world” by Paulie Gee’s pizzeria owners Derrick Tung and Terry Gibbs.
Smiling with Hope Pizza surely is a slice of pie with a whole lot of care and compassion on the side.
Heidi Bethel has a stepbrother with Down syndrome, and she recognizes the need for even more opportunities for people with disabilities within the community. She is grateful for Smiling with Hope Pizza — both for its mission and the delicious pizza served there.
Smiling with Hope Pizza
6135 Lakeside Drive, Ste. 101, Reno
775-825-1070 • http://www.Smilingwithhopepizza.com
Open noon – 2 p.m. and 5 – 8 p.m. Tues. – Fri., 5 – 8 p.m. Sat.