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Meet Lenny Sanchez and Alex Lazaridis, Owners of Manchester Pizza and Grill

"Alex and I have known each other forever."

I was leaving a Manchester Lion's Club meeting recently at Manchester Pizza and Grill, when I  saw Lenny Sanchez working in the kitchen. I asked Lenny if he would be interested in talking about his business for Manchester Patch, and he agreed to an interview on a Fridfay afternoon when he and co-owner Alex Lazaridis would be working together, before the rush for pizzas began. After talking to Alex and Lenny I got a tour of the pizza kitchen as things started to get busy. Everyone was in motion and six drivers got ready to deliver the hundreds of pizza that are sold each weekend.

Timothy Becker: Alex, how would you describe the type of food offered at Manchester Pizza and Grill?

Alex Lazaridis: Manchester Pizza and Grill offers Greek and Italian food including steaks, pasta, seafood, pizza, salads and grinders with a full delivery service.

Timothy Becker: How did you get started in the restaurant business?

Alex Lazaridis: I grew up in the business. My parents Angelo and Juliana, who will be married for 38 years in March, opened their first restaurant in 1984, in Ludlow, Massachusetts. I stared at age 10 as a go-fer, by age 14 I was cutting pizza, and by 21 I had learned cooking from my parents.

Timothy Becker: How did you wind up in Manchester?

Alex Lazaridis: In 1989, a family friend recommended Glastonbury as a good location for a restaurant. My parents opened up “Angelo's”  in Glastonbury in late 1991. Lenny started working with us in 1997 when he married my sister Silvia. My parents bought the plaza here on Green Road in 2003, and Lenny and I took over the Manchester Pizza and Grill in 2005.

Timothy Becker: I understand that you recently renovated a portion of your restaurant.

Alex Lazaridis: We added a new lounge with a full liquor selection that can accommodate parties of up to 35 people and in the back we can host up to 60 people. We also offer catering or our customers can pick up catered meals here.

Timothy Becker: What unusual pizzas are on your menu?

Alex Lazaridis: We offer the “Neopolitian” which is a vegetarian pizza made with basil, olive oil, and tomato. We also have the “Red Bliss” pizza made with red potatos, sour cream, broccoli, florets, and bacon. The “Pollo Gorgonzola” is very popular. That is made with chicken, spinach, tomato, garlic, and with ricotta, crumbled Gorgonzola, and mozzarella cheeses.

Timothy Becker: Lenny, how did you and Alex become business co-owners of Manchester Pizza and Grill?

Lenny Sanchez: I was born in Puerto Rico. I was six years old when I came to the United States. I learned to speak English in about three months. There wasn't a second language teacher. My parents were very strict about learning the American culture. Alex and I have known each other forever. We went to Metcalf Elementary School together in Holyoke, Massachusetts. My only experience was working as a dishwasher as a teenager and KP (kitchen patrol) in the Army. When you marry a Greek girl you have one clear path.

Timothy Becker: Where did you learn to cook?

Lenny Sanchez: I learned here on the job. I also do some plumbing, carpentry, and I'm cleaning all the time. I also make the bread and pizza dough.

Timothy Becker: What do you like most about your job?

Lenny Sanchez: Being a restaurant owners is a tough job, but there is nothing like working for yourself. We sponsor Little League, youth soccer and youth basketball teams. We feel that we are part of the town and that people depend on us.

Katy DelGaizo November 05, 2012 at 04:59 PM
My husband and I used to order dinner from Manchester Grill about every other week or so for our large family of 8 because they have a large menu that had something for everyone on their menu. One night we ordered a large pizza for our 6, 8 and 10 yr old boys (as well as other items for everyone else as well) and was told the delivery would be 45 minutes. 1 1/2 hrs later it showed up and 1/2 the pizza was burnt. The boys were famished so I immediately gave them each a piece while I called to try to get a replacement and was told that the only way they would send another was if I gave them back the ENTIRE pizza and waited another 45 minutes for the new one to arrive. This was exaplined to me pretty rudely and when I explained that there were 3 pieces missing they then refused to send another one unless we paid for it. So I let it go and a few weeks later we decided to give them another try because we had enjoyed them previously. This time it was my grinder that came and was made incorrectly. When I called to let them know I was told that they didn't make it wrong but I had ordered it wrong and that they would not send a replacement. I was furious. My husband and I have a rather large family of 6 boys and when we have a chance to order out it's a treat for all of us and we expect good service. With a bad economy and lots of competition customer satisfaction should be #1 and Manchester Grill failed. We will never order there again.
CMurray November 05, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Great Italian dinner selections, great quality, large portions and reasonable prices. My wife and I order out dinners 3 or 4 times a month. Good location, away from the mall traffic. Charlie

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