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Meet the Owner of Mizza’s Pizza

Meet the Owner of Mizza’s Pizza

Meet the Owner of Mizza’s Pizza

Contributing Writer

December 8, 2022

Juniper Rogers '26

From Preps to four-year Seniors, Mizza’s Pizza has become a household name for students, faculty, and staff across campus.

On August 8, 2006, Mr. Edi Canie — known to locals as Edi — and his brother, Todi, took over ownership of Mizza’s, a local Italian restaurant in Lakeville, Connecticut. Since then, they have used their family recipes to turn Mizza’s into a staple of the school’s delivery fare.

When Edi and his family moved to Connecticut from Albania in 2002, he began delivering for a chain of three pizza restaurants named Mizza’s located in the Northwest corner. Later, he gained the opportunity to become owner of the Lakeville location. Edi reformed the restaurant’s business model with the goal of increasing the number of customers and improving customer satisfaction. To achieve this, he improved the food being served — such as the subs, pastas, and pizzas that are now favorites among the school community — as well as coming up with new menu ideas. One of these new items, the Jennifer Bread (garlic bread and cheese) was named after a neighbor named Jennifer, who regularly ordered garlic bread and cheese at the restaurant.

In 2012, Mr. Rick Hazelton, then senior associate director of college advising, was the first to receive a delivery from Mizza’s, but certainly not the last: the school quickly rose to become Mizza’s number-one customer. Between 2012 and 2017, the relationship between Mizza’s and the school was so close that the name “Mizza’s” would be called out at every graduation. During the winter season, school orders comprise around 65% of Mizza’s’ total revenue. Edi said, “[The school community] has made me be where I am today. I love Hotchkiss…kids, teachers, faculty members, everyone — we are really grateful for [the community].”

In past years, Edi has expressed appreciation for students by giving a hundred pizzas to the school on the last day of the school year. In addition, Mizza’s has sponsored numerous school programs, including sports teams: a few years ago, the restaurant sponsored the school soccer team to play in Spain. Edi said, “I have never turned down a request of sponsorship for the Hotchkiss School.”

The restaurant’s service extends beyond the school to the broader community. In an annual holiday-season tradition, a few weeks ago, Mizza’s donated over $6,000 worth of pizza to firefighters in Millerton, NY, Sharon, and Lakeville. Mizza’s has also contributed to aid local families in need. Edi said, “Every year, we choose [to help] three families that need the money the most. The families are different but [many] of them are single moms or single fathers with kids, who cannot make payments for their own car or oil. I have been doing this for 10 years.”

The Covid-19 pandemic changed aspects of Mizza’s business. Before the pandemic, deliveries were made to campus until 10:30 p.m., but now 9:15 p.m. is the latest an order can be placed. Additionally, the pre-pandemic direct delivery service that brought students’ food to their dorms was altered by school policy. Now, deliveries from all local restaurants need to be picked up at a shed outside of Security. On an average day, Mizza’s employs five or six delivery drivers, and any given delivery might include up to fifteen orders, which makes punctuality more difficult. Edi said, “After [Covid-19] started, we aren’t allowed to go into the dorms anymore, but the food is [less fresh] and stays longer at the Hotchkiss Security shed. I feel so sorry for the kids, because I have two kids myself who go to private school, so I know how it is with food deliveries.”

Edi’s sense of appreciation is reciprocated by the students. Ishani Kalavagunta ’25 said, “It’s really helpful that we have a pizza place nearby, because although the Dining Hall serves good food, it’s nice to have a break. It feels like I’m treating myself after completing an essay.” She also noted that Mizza’s is one of the most affordable options in the Lakeville area. Nicole Ocampo Montoya ’23 said, “I thought I was a person who didn’t like BBQ Chicken pizza until I tried Mizza’s. In addition, their Jennifer Bread is unrivaled.”

Mizza’s’ local, family-owned business remains a popular choice among students for campus deliveries and among residents of the Lakeville community.

Juniper Rogers is a contributing writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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