RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Smiling With Hope Pizza just earned a big honor from Yelp.
"We're number one in the country," explained owner Walter Gloshinski. "It was a shock."
They were named number one on a list of the "Top 25 pizzerias you need to try in your lifetime" in an article published in Business Insider. Gloshinski wasn't even aware of the honor, until a new customer who had seen it, came in to try it herself.
"She turned around and said they're number one in the whole country, and the place was full and they gave us like a standing ovation," gushed Gloshinski. "It was like, whoa!"
What makes this restaurant so special is not just their great food, but their social mission to hire and train employees with developmental disabilities.
"None of them asked to be born like they were, and it's not something we can fix or they can escape," added Gloshinski. "So it's up to us as a society to provide meaningful situations for them."
He spent 23 years as a special education teacher, and currently 24 percent of his staff has some type of disability.
"There's a lot of stuff that I've learned here that I'll never forget if I branch out to somewhere else," said restaurant greeter Josh Raymond. "I'll always keep what I've learned here and take it wherever it will take me."
Smiling with Hope Pizza has won a number of regional and national honors over the years for their popular pies, which are made "New York-style" and inspired by Italy.
"If you're raised on Domino's and Round Table and you come to us (and say), there's only like twenty pieces of sausage on here. I'm used to having 200. So, we're not for everybody," admitted Gloshinski.
But it seems like everybody loves the food, with a five-star rating on Yelp; thanks to 380 reviews. They're proving that a for-profit business with a social cause can succeed.
"You have to be in a place like Reno where the people here have supported it. You wouldn't believe the amount of tips go on our bills, it pays for them and more. So it's just been a miracle."
Smiling With Hope Pizza is located in the Shops at Bartley Ranch at 6135 Lakeside Drive. They're open Tuesday-Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly.
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