PHOTO: Stefano Capamazza and Jim Bulian, co-owners of Old Venice Pizza Company.
JACKSON — Oxford’s Old Venice Pizza Company, opened in 1997 and seats 100, and Starkville’s 1999-built restaurant that seats 150, will soon be rivaled by the restaurant’s Jackson version this October, located at the old Gridley’s location in northeast Jackson.
The new Jackson Old Venice Pizza Company and Burgundy Room currently under construction, although not in a college town per se, was chosen because of customer requests.
“So many students who go to State and Ole Miss go to (Old Venice Pizza Company),” said Stefano Capamazza, the 27-year-old co-owner of the three restaurants.
Capamazza’s partner, 35-year-old Jim Bulian, said the restaurant could not have expanded without the help of Capamazza, as well as director of operations Matt Owens, the Oxford location’s general manager Phil Chaney or general manager of the Starkville location Rob Wilson.
“I definitely want it to be known that we couldn’t have progressed any further without these people’s great work and effort,” Bulian said. “We just have a great time with these guys. They love the concept and we’re all great friends and believe in the idea.”
The idea for Old Venice Pizza Company came about by way of Bulian, whose parents have been in the restaurant business all their lives.
“Old Venice would not be where it is today without their help,” Bulian said.
Bulian’s parents opened Dino’s, a small Italian restaurant featuring subs and spaghetti, in Oxford, and later Victor’s. Bulian recalls bussing tables when he was just five years old.
“The bus cart was bigger than I was,” he said.
When Bulian was older, he worked as kitchen and bar manager at Lafayette’s, his brother’s bar and grill. That was when the idea of Old Venice came about.
“The name Old Venice Pizza Company popped in my head one day and I told Stefano about it,” Bulian said. “He said he wanted to do it. He believed in my concept.”
First the two bought the Harvest Caf