Pizzeria stays open as winter storm closes several downtown businesses

Some businesses that closed in downtown Houston are beginning to open back up following the rare winter storm, but one never closed down during that time.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria on Polk Street remained open even though business as usual essentially shut down in downtown Houston.

“You saw so many come in from the cold, shivering, just happy to have some place to go,” said Angie Brown, general manager of Russo’s New York Pizzeria on Polk Street.

The decision by Brown to keep the pizza shop opened, you can imagine, made many people walking from outside feel warm inside.

“Absolutely it was a good find for me,” said Joe Carroll. He moved from Denver, Colo. to Houston just last week, so while the ice did not surprise him, the way the city seemed to shut down did.

“To see myself as the only person on the street, didn’t see any traffic out there, I was a little confused," added Carroll. "This is a big city. I expected to see more people out here."

Call after call, every restaurant was closed to Carroll until he called Russo’s and since it was just a close, careful walk on the icy pavement, he wound up there.

“It can get down to zero degrees or something where I’m from and two-to-three feet of snow and we’re still out in it,” said Carroll.

“You know, we had extended wait times and all of this, but everybody was so understanding and they were just really happy something was here,” said Brown.

Canadian visitors Byron Richards and Doug Gommeringer were not expecting the winter that they’re accustomed to in their country to spill into Texas for their trip, but it did not stop them from getting out.

“People around here don’t know how to drive on ice,” said Gommeringer.

“It’s warmer in Whitehorse today than it is here, said Richards.

Brown said she would keep the pizza oven on and the business opened in the event of another winter storm. Of course, Brown wants her employees safe, but said it’s worth it to her to stay open if customers keep visiting.