My first restaurant job has been my only job…. I’ve been at Pizza By Elizabeth’s for 25 years. My current title is CEO of the Awesome Department. I started as the dishwasher when I was like 13 (kidding!) and worked my way up learning every single job. I haven’t left because Betsy LeRoy, the Coolest Boss EVER and won’t let me leave (kidding again). She really is the best and treats me like a son.
I’ve always loved food so choosing the restaurant industry was a easy choice for me. I come from a Southeast Asian background so eating and cooking with family is our culture. I still remember watching my Mom and Aunts in the kitchens cooking all day. Just the smell of spicy papaya salad, pho, mint, and cilantro takes me to a happy place. Every day is different in the restaurant, I can honestly tell you I never know what I’m going to walk into everyday. I could either be cutting down weeds or putting out fires, but that’s what make it exciting and you just “Don’t Stop Believing” that you’re going to get through it.
My advice to the future rock stars looking to get in this industry is to remember to have fun! Because that’s what its all about. Everything else will fall into place.
Celebrating 25 years with Pizza by Elizabeths in 2023, “Van the Man” is an indispensable and beloved part of the team. “He is the coolest, most fun guy in the world” says PbE owner Betsy LeRoy.