New York Grand Pizza: Pizza maker continues family legacy in Atascocita area

New York Grand Pizza
Calzone ($7.39): A pizza dough pocket is stuffed with ham, ricotta, provolone and mozzarella. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Calzone ($7.39): A pizza dough pocket is stuffed with ham, ricotta, provolone and mozzarella. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Grand White Pie ($16.86): The pizza is one of the restaurant’s specialties and is made with spinach, tomatoes, fresh garlic and chicken. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Homemade lasagna ($9.24): The dish comes with a side salad and garlic bread. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
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From left: Igli “E” Keshi and Ellie and Yanni Lusha opened New York Grand Pizza in June 2018. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Yanni Lusha’s family has been in the pizza business for the last 50 years, and in June 2018, he and his brother-in-law, Igli “E” Keshi, brought that New York-style legacy to the Lake Houston area at New York Grand Pizza.

Throughout his life, Lusha said pizza-making has been a focus of what he does, to the point where he even dreamed about making pizzas while asleep.

“It’s always been a dream,” Lusha said. “I’ve always wanted my own [shop], even though I’ve always worked with family in pizza shops since I was a kid.”

One of the most striking differences between New York pizza and the average pizza from a food chain franchise is the size. According to Lusha, a typical large pizza is 14 inches, while New York Grand Pizza’s large is 16 inches.

“It’s hand-tossed pizza. There’s no other way to make it,” Lusha said. “You don’t have some kind of contraption or machine slamming it down and doing it for you.”


Although his family’s base recipe has stayed the same over the years, Lusha said he is still experimenting and trying out new ways to innovate the pizza he makes. In addition to pizzas, the eatery also serves other Italian favorites, such as lasagna and calzones.

In its first year open, Lusha said the business has cultivated a loyal following and has provided several learning opportunities for him.

“[I’m] now a business owner,” he said. “I’m not just making pizzas for my uncle.”

Lusha said as the business heads into its second year, it began delivering pizzas in a three-mile radius on Oct. 6. But no matter how the restaurant expands, Lusha said customers will still be able to tell their friends the same thing.

“I think they tell them it’s the best freakin’ pizza they’ve ever had!” Lusha said.

New York Grand Pizza

16430 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Ste. 800, Houston

832-243-6160

www.nygrandpizza.com

Hours: Mon.-Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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